Sportsbooks Ramp Up Marketing Efforts Ahead of 2023 NFL Season

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The 2023 NFL regular season is set to commence on Thursday, September 7, with the Detroit Lions facing off against the reigning champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. As the NFL season approaches, the sport that generates more bets and revenue for US sportsbooks than any other, operators are in a frenzy to finalize their marketing campaigns.

DraftKings, one of the leading sportsbooks, has announced its new upcoming sports betting campaign, which seeks to tell bettors that its app “rules” the industry. The campaign will incorporate a new tagline, “The Crown is Yours,” and will feature actor and comedian Kevin Hart in the headlining role. In one commercial provided early to, Hart teases DraftKings’ newest promotion, which credits new players with $200 in bonus bets after their first bet of at least $5. Former NFL quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick also appears in the spot to help explain the promotion to Hart.

Caesars Sportsbook, another major player in the industry, is continuing its “Go Full Caesars” campaign, which stars actor-comedian JB Smoove as a fictional Caesars character.

The US sports betting industry has seen significant changes since the US Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on sports betting in May 2018. Numerous casinos and gaming industry interests jumped at the opportunity to tap into what they hoped would be an untapped multibillion-dollar market. However, the industry has become less attractive due to the small margins of sports betting and the high application fees and taxes on gross revenues levied by states.

In the past week, WynnBet, Wynn Resorts’ sports betting unit, announced its exit from eight states where it operates, and Penn Entertainment folded its Barstool Sportsbook. Penn cited regulatory concerns caused by Barstool founder Dave Portnoy’s persona and reputation. Instead, Penn entered into a $1.5 billion partnership with ESPN to form ESPN Bet.

Industry analysts believe that the current leaders in the sports betting space, DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars Sportsbook, and BetMGM, are poised to extend their market control. ESPN, which found Penn willing to pay $150 million a year to leverage its brand into a sportsbook, has begun terminating its marketing agreements with future sports betting rivals. This move is expected to save DraftKings and Caesars Sportsbook, which struck multiyear commercial accords with ESPN in 2020, $75 million a year in advertising costs.

DraftKings’ new commercial campaign will not air on ESPN but will run on other major sports networks like Fox Sports, NBC Sports, FS1, the Big Ten Network, and SEC Network.