How Massachusetts Fits Into Evolving DraftKings Advertising Strategy

Written By Matthew Bain on April 3, 2023 - Last Updated on August 7, 2023
DraftKings ad strategy in Massachusetts, from playma.com

Outside of Massachusetts, DraftKings is adjusting its sports betting advertising strategy to focus more on national ad campaigns and cut back on local, state-level campaigns. That’s according to DraftKings CEO Jason Robins, who discussed his thought process in a YouTube interview with Joe Pompliano last month.

Robins elaborated when Pompliano asked why DraftKings Sportsbook isn’t forming as many local or team partnerships lately.

“That’s something that we’re looking at, because we think there’s a lot of inefficiency in there,” Robins said. “… Those (deals) are effectively local advertising, right? So, as we’re getting more national advertising, and as those new state launch periods where we’re heavying up on local are more compact, it’s not to say that they didn’t work before or where never good.

“It’s just that’s changed. Now we have all this national media that we’re running that’s hitting that audience.”

How DraftKings is advertising in Massachusetts

DraftKings is the only of the six MA online sportsbooks to produce a Massachusetts-specific commercial. (Although, other sportsbooks have aired ads featuring Boston sports legends — like Rob Gronkowski for FanDuel and Kevin Garnett for BetMGM.)

The sportsbook’s “Bet Local” commercial featuring Lenny Clarke, David Ortiz, Brian Scalabrine and Zdeno Chara began airing on March 10 in Massachusetts. It’s been a hit.

Especially early on after the March 10 launch, DraftKings went heavy with TV ads. During the March 13 Celtics vs. Rockets broadcast, for instance, DraftKings had four commercials — including the “Bet Local” ad.

On the other hand, DraftKings hasn’t announced any partnerships with local pro sports teams. Yes, it is already the daily fantasy sports partner of the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots and Bruins. It still gains visibility that way. But BetMGM and FanDuel have made significant moves in this space surrounding the MA sports betting launch. BetMGM became the official sports betting partner of the Red Sox, while FanDuel did the same with the Bruins.

That area has clearly not been a priority for DraftKings in its home state.

“When 100% of your marketing budget is local, then there’s a portfolio of things you buy,” Robins told Pompliano. “When 20% or 30% of the marketing budget for a period of time is local, then you’re going to narrow it to the 20, 30 most impact full things. And so naturally things that were on the list before now aren’t, or need to be changed in terms of the value you’re getting for what you’re paying for.”

Impact on Massachusetts market share?

We will soon find out how impactful the DraftKings Massachusetts ad strategy has been on its market share. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will release March revenue figures from all six sportsbook apps on April 18.

It’s speculated that FanDuel will likely own the largest market share in Massachusetts in the long term, like it does in 15 of the 18 states where it’s currently live. But could DraftKings take top spot at least at first? And could it even flex its home-state muscles to outperform FanDuel in the long run?

Again, we’ll find out soon enough. Perhaps if DraftKings is encouraged by its market share in March, April and May, it may spend more of its advertising budget on Massachusetts than it originally planned.

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Matthew Bain

Matthew Bain is currently the Content Manager at Catena Media’s national online lottery site, PlayiLottery. He used to be the News Content Manager at Catena Media, overseeing news content for the network’s highest-priority regional sites. Massachusetts is a young, promising gambling market, so PlayMA was one of his focuses. Prior to joining Catena Media in 2022, Matthew won 10 statewide and national journalism awards during six years as a reporter and editor for the USA TODAY Network. Matthew's work primarily appeared in the Des Moines Register, but he was also featured in the Detroit Free Press, Indianapolis Star, Arizona Republic, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and USA TODAY. Throughout his career, Matthew's bylines have also appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Seattle Times, and Orange County Register.

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