Fantasy Sports Sites DraftKings, FanDuel September Spend Tops $100 Million

They Keep Pouring Cash Into TV

By Published on .

Tired of watching those two Masshole Pats bros hopping around like House of Pain in that ubiquitous DraftKings spot? Had about enough of the weirdly soporific jackpot winners featured in the equally relentless FanDuel ads? Get used to them, because there appears to be no end in sight for the fantasy sports onslaught.

According to estimates, DraftKings and FanDuel together have funneled $107 million into the networks' coffers since Sept. 1. Nearly half ($50.3 million) of that outlay was spent on national NFL broadcasts on CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN and NFL Network.

DraftKings has been the bigger overall TV spender of the two fantasy sites, while FanDuel has dumped more cash into NFL games. Per iSpot data, DraftKings has bought $60.1 million in national TV inventory since the month began, of which $23.6 million was earmarked for NFL broadcasts. Other key targets include college football ($7.95 million), ESPN's "SportsCenter" ($2.05 million) and NBC's Sunday pre-game/kickoff show, "Football Night in America" ($1.6 million). In keeping with the brand's desire to target younger male viewers, DraftKing's highest non-sports investments were made in Comedy Central's "South Park" ($1.36 million).

On an individual network basis, ESPN earned the bulk of DraftKings' September spend ($11.8 million), followed by CBS ($9.15 million), Fox ($8.84 million) and NBC ($8.03 million). That ESPN should have commanded a greater portion than its competition is largely a function of DraftKings' commitment to park $250 million at the sports net over the next two years, in exchange for category exclusiveness. That deal officially kicks in on Jan. 1, 2016, whereupon FanDuel will no longer be able to advertise on ESPN and its various media offshoots.

As much as Twitter delights in jokily bemoaning the metronomic frequency with which the DraftKings spots run, the actual booking data is almost beyond comprehension. DraftKings ads have aired a skull-clutching 16,259 times over the course of the month, which works out to 135 hours and 25 minutes of 30-second spots. That's more than five and a- alf days, or a full work week, of commercial messaging that's been hammered out in the span of a 29-day period.

If FanDuel's overall TV ($46.9 million) spend lags its rival's, the brand has the upper hand in terms of its NFL investment ($26.7 million). Other significant FanDuel targets include college football ($3.76 million) and "SportsCenter" ($1.18 million). Oddly enough, FanDuel's highest spend outside of football accumulates in syndicated repeats of the old shirtless crime chestnut "Cops" ($819,203).

CBS laid claim to the lion's share of the FanDuel monthly spend ($15.2 million), followed by NBC ($8.73 million), ESPN ($5.94 million) and Fox ($4.57 million).

By iSpot's reckoning, FanDuel ads have aired 9,463 times since Sept. 1. That translates to nearly 79 hours of total airtime, or a little north of three days.

Since the month began, the NFL's biggest TV backers have outspent established brands like Verizon ($21.4 million) and Geico ($13.7 million), both of which were among the top five sports spenders in 2014.

As the NFL steers into the fourth week of the 2015 season, it remains to be seen if the two fantasy sites can keep spending as they have in recent weeks. While both control upwards of 95% of the daily fantasy sports market, neither venture is profitable. (FanDuel and DraftKings in 2014 generated around $90 million in combined revenue, while giving out nearly 10 times that amount in winnings.)

If daily fantasy spend does run cold in the coming weeks, the impact the category has had in the third quarter is difficult to overestimate. Not only are DraftKings and FanDuel on target to have spent $150 million on TV in Q3, but the frequency of their ads in prime time have helped squeeze an already tightening scatter market, which has helped lift CPM pricing in scatter.

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