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Betting on TV: Sportsbooks spend more money on TV ads than social media ads.

Written by Colin Tierney

Account Executive

U.S. sportsbooks spent $237.8 million on TV ads in 2023, a 10% increase over 2022, according to EDO Ad EnGage. Moreover, according to MediaRadar, 90% of FanDuel’s ad spend went to TV ads in 2023. 

At a time when most advertisers are spending more money on social media ads and less money on TV ads, why are sportsbooks betting big on TV? They can target TV ads to sports fans more accurately than they can target social media ads to sports fans. 

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2022 found that men are more likely than women (24% to 15%) to have bet on sports in some form in the past twelve months, as are adults under the age of 50 compared to adults aged 50 and older (22% vs. 17%). 

The results from the Pew Research Center’s survey suggest that sportsbooks’ target audience is men under the age of 50. So, sportsbooks could place targeted ads on social media to reach users who are men under the age of 50, but sportsbooks are not guaranteed that these users watch sports. 

Instead of betting on something that is not guaranteed, sportsbooks are placing ads on TV networks that air sports because these networks can guarantee the sportsbooks that their ads will be seen by people who watch sports. 

As of April 2024, mobile sports betting is legal in 30 U.S. states. Sportsbooks hope that fans watching sports on TVs in those 30 states will see their ads on TVs and place bets on phones. The best part? Fans do not have to turn off games on their TVs to place bets on their phones. 

Notably, Forbes reports that sportsbooks spend the most money on TV ads during the fourth quarter of the year — the time of the year when the MLB postseason is ending, the NBA and NHL regular seasons are starting, and, most importantly, the NFL regular season is heating up. 

According to TV ratings released by Nielsen, 93 of the 100 most-watched U.S. TV broadcasts of 2023 were NFL games. And in 2023, FanDuel aired its inaugural “Kick of Destiny” ad featuring Rob Gronkowski during Super Bowl LVII, the most-watched U.S. TV broadcast of the year. 

FOX, who broadcast SuperBowl LVII, likely made a lot of money off of FanDuel’s ad, but ESPN won the jackpot in 2023: Penn Entertainment paid the network $1.5 billion to rebrand its sportsbook from “Hollywood Casino at Greektown” to “ESPN BET” for the next ten years. 

Sportsbooks are showing no signs of slowing down on spending money on TV ads. So, at a time when many TV networks are losing ad revenue year after year, TV networks that air sports can bet on sportsbooks to be a steady source of ad revenue.

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