NBC Sports Seeing ‘Significant’ Ad Demand from Sportsbooks

Posted on: September 9, 2021, 11:36h. 

Last updated on: September 9, 2021, 03:14h.

With the first Sunday Night Football game of 2021 slated for tonight, NBC Sports says it’s seeing strong demand for advertising slots from sportsbook operators.

Sunday Night Football
Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth share commentary during NBC’s Sunday Night Football, above. Sunday Night Football kicks off tonight. Viewers should expect to see more ads from sportsbook operators. (Image: USA Today)

Earlier this year, the NFL approved Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings, and FanDuel as official sportsbook partners. More recently, the league signed off on the same status for BetMGM, FOX Bet, PointsBet, and WynnBET, paving the way for all seven gaming companies to run ads during NFL broadcasts this season.

This is the first year the most popular sports league in the US is permitting betting-related advertisements during its games, and NBC Sports says demand for the slots is robust.

We’re seeing significant demand, there’s no doubt about it. Reminiscent to when the fantasy category opened up,” said Dan Lovinger, executive vice president of advertising sales for NBC Sports Group, on a Wednesday conference call.

Football is the most wagered-on sport in the US, and Sunday Night Football is consistently one of the highest-rated television shows, sports or otherwise.

Sunday Night Football Ads Aren’t Cheap

Customer acquisition and retention is the name of the game for online sportsbook operators, and costs associated with those endeavors explain why some operators in this space aren’t yet profitable.

Sunday Night Football highlights the conundrum faced by gaming companies. It’s a premier program with a sports-enthusiastic viewership — many of whom are interested in sports betting. There’s also a hefty tab associated with advertising to this fan base. The average cost of a regular-season Sunday Night Football ad was nearly $712,300 during the 2019-20 season, up seven percent from a year earlier, according to Statista.

There could be tussling among gaming companies for those spots this year. Under league rules, there can be a maximum of six gambling advertisements per game. By some estimates, the average NFL television broadcast lasts more than three hours and features around 100 commercials.

Lovinger didn’t say which of the aforementioned seven betting companies are signing up for Sunday Night Football ads, but he did say, “The majority of them have expressed interest in our inventory.”

Looking to Super Bowl

NBC Sports is broadcasting Super Bowl LVI on February 13, 2022, and it’s possible some sports betting ads appear during that game, potentially joining other new categories in the process.

As far as new, we talked about the legalized sports betting, and also digital wallets and cryptocurrency is a new category that’s seen some interest,” adds Lovinger.

During the most recent Super Bowl, DraftKings was a first-time advertiser. But it was pitching a free-to-play pool specific to that contest, not its sportsbook offering.

Any sportsbook operator that wants to advertise during the upcoming Super Bowl will have to shell out big dollars, as Lovinger confirms the most recent ad sales for the big game occurred at the $6.5 million price point.