Bill Simmons is nearly synonymous with Massachusetts sports. He is as popular of a sports figure in the state as many athletes.
This notoriety has gained him the unwavering support of many of the state’s sports fans. From the Celtics to the Patriots and Bruins, Simmons loves them all and isn’t afraid to share it. His appeal with Massachusetts residents and his platforms makes him an intriguing option for sports betting advertising.
FanDuel identified the potential and jumped on the opportunity, and the relationship could have a significant impact on the sportsbook’s performance in the new marketplace. FanDuel is a fan favorite in the industry, but with giants like DraftKings and BetMGM always jockeying for market share, there is always a need to push the needle.
That’s where Simmons comes in. The Ringer, Simmons’ brainchild after leaving ESPN, is partners with FanDuel. That has made Simmons a de facto FanDuel spokesperson, as he appears on FanDuel TV and promotes FanDuel bets via his podcasts.
With one of the most popular public figures in Massachusetts on its promotional roster, FanDuel could be in good position to hold off DraftKings for Massachusetts sports betting dominance.
Simmons’ reach and background
Simmons’ resume is among the most impressive of any sports commentator. His career includes a nearly 15-year stint with ESPN as a lead columnist and commentator. Afterward, he started his own website and podcast network called The Ringer, which Spotify recently purchased for nearly $200 million.
The Ringer podcast network is projected to exceed 100 million downloads per month. He also has an additional podcast on the network called The Rewatchables, which breaks down some of the most rewatched movies of all time. It also draws in more than 200,000 listeners per month. It’s not sports related, but it is part of the Ringer network and could be leveraged for advertising.
And last but not least, Simmons currently has 5.6 million followers on Twitter.
More than enough levers for the Massachusetts native to pull to promote FanDuel.
READ MORE: Best Massachusetts Sports Betting Promos
Current activity and future FanDuel Massachusetts possibilities
It doesn’t appear Simmons’ efforts for FanDuel are targeting Massachusetts just yet, but he is active in promoting the sportsbook.
He created a “Million Dollar Picks” segment that he shares on his Twitter account and Ringer podcast, which highlights his best picks for major and primetime sporting events on the sportsbook. He was more active around the Super Bowl compared to as of late, but that could change soon.
(And, yes, we also wonder how Simmons — who lives in California — places his bets. Among the not-so-legal options would be through a bookie, an offshore sportsbook or a proxy in a legal state. Either way, not a good look.)
With March Madness quickly approaching, FanDuel could invest more into Simmons’ advertising services as it appears they did around the Super Bowl. March Madness has nearly 70 games played in total over multiple weeks. That gives Simmons and FanDuel Sportsbook MA numerous opportunities to reach sports bettors in the state right out of the gate.
Advertising with Simmons gives FanDuel a significant edge over its competitors. Most use star entertainers, but not many with the Massachusetts sports allure of Simmons. Unlike traditional advertising partners, Simmons’ platforms are dedicated to sports and reach millions – including many Massachusetts residents.
What it all means
Every investment matters when it comes to separating yourself in the gaming industry. Simmons’ name recognition and reach to sports fans in Massachusetts and its surrounding areas are sure to impact the sportsbook’s success in the state.
From millions of listeners to the podcast to millions of followers on Twitter, Simmons provides consistent access to sports fans beyond a traditional television or social media ad. Additionally, much of FanDuel’s success is in the Northeast US.
Their current success in the region combined with Simmons’ brand has to be a market differentiator. And, combined, those factors could keep Boston-born DraftKings Sportsbook MA in second place in Massachusetts.