Last Updated on May 6, 2021

With the boom of legal sports betting and iGaming across the US, brands are starting to ramp up their television advertising. To no one’s surprise, there was a massive influx of spending in the first quarter of 2021. With the Super Bowl and March Madness being two of the biggest sports betting events of the year it makes sense that the ad spending was high. Data collection company “Nielsen” produced a report and some findings that there was over $153M spent on local television spots. Nationally, $25M was spent…incredible numbers.

Let’s dive into the numbers a bit deeper, look at which brands spent the most money, and an outlook as to future spending by gaming operators in 2021 and beyond.



Online Gambling Ad Spend Increases

Chances are if you are located in (or near) a legal sports betting state, you have seen a sports betting commercial in the last few months. That is because there was a massive influx of money pushed into the digital marketing side from a TV perspective, highlighted by DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM.

In the recent report from Nielsen, they shared the numbers of the total spend, then each of the top three (DK, FD, BetMGM) along with some other facts. Here are some to note from the report:

  • Sports betting ad spend increased in 180 of 208 markets.
  • FanDuel partnered with Inside the NBA.
  • DraftKings partnered with Meadowlark Media and Sling TV.
  • All money from DK and FD was spent on their sports betting platforms.


Ad Spending by Gaming Brand

Operator Quarter 1 TV Ad Spending
FanDuel $57.7M
DraftKings $43.6M
BetMGM $24.9M

As you can see, FanDuel spent the most money on ad spending in quarter 1 for 2021, but BetMGM likely has the commercial people will remember the most. Have you seen BetMGM: The King of Sportsbooks featuring Jamie Foxx? It’s worth a watch.


While BetMGM may have spent less than DraftKings and FanDuel in advertising, a commercial that is strategically placed can have a larger ROI for brands looking to market. With Jamie Foxx, that is what BetMGM is after. We will see if it pays dividends.


FanDuel Spent $58M on TV Ads in Q1 2021

FanDuel Sportsbook (and casino) led all brands in spending on ads for the first quarter of 2021, spending $57.7M. With a new parent company in Flutter, FanDuel’s pockets are nearly endless for advertising spend. This makes sense as to why they were the top-spending brand in the first quarter, and that will likely continue throughout the year.

Per Nielsen, every dollar spent by FanDuel was for their sports betting product in quarter one, so the casino spending is next.


DraftKings Spent $44M on TV Ads

After FanDuel, DraftKings was second with $43.6M in spending for the first quarter of 2021. Like FanDuel, DraftKings spent their entire budget for commercials on the sports betting product rather than online casino product. Given the nature of the first quarter in the sports world with the Super Bowl, March Madness, the Masters and more, that makes sense.

Nielsen also reported that more sports betting advertising spend for commercials was on news programming, with the number set at 39% compared to 31% in 2020. For advertisements on sports-based broadcast channels, the number was just 14%.


Action Rush Staff