What Ryan Fitzpatrick’s DraftKings Ad Says About Changing Sports Betting Landscape

Written By Connor Grootenhuis on August 24, 2023
DraftKings' new commercial with former NFL QB Ryan Fitzpatrick shows how sportsbooks are becoming more efficient with ads, from playma.com

Just in time for the start of the upcoming NFL season, DraftKings has revealed a new ad that stars a familiar face to football fans in Massachusetts: Ryan Fitzpatrick.

In the ad, Fitzpatrick, along with movie star and comedian Kevin Hart, promotes DraftKings’ welcome promo in which new customers can get $200 in bonus bets after betting just $5. In addition, the new commercial introduces DraftKings’ new tagline, “The crown is yours.”

The ad could signal a new theme of sports betting operators being more efficient with their choice of brand ambassadors.

Changing the sports betting advertising scene

Online sports betting in Massachusetts launched on March 10, and DraftKings is one of eight sportsbooks operating in the Commonwealth.

As sports betting continues to make its way across the country, sportsbooks like DraftKings are starting to adjust their advertising strategies a bit.

When the industry first launched, sportsbooks would hire all sorts of ambassadors. Sports betting platforms would spend tens of millions of dollars on mega celebrity brand ambassadors like Jaime Foxx and Kevin Hart.

This is still done today, but on a lesser scale, as the extremely high spending on advertising and brand ambassadors can make it tough for sportsbook operators to turn a profit year in and year out.

Now, sports betting platforms are pulling back on spending for welcome promos and bonuses, and becoming more efficient with their brand ambassadors. Fitzpatrick is a perfect example.

Fitzpatrick well-known among NFL fans

Fitzpatrick may not be national household name like Foxx or Hart.

But he helps DraftKings in Massachusetts and across the US just the same.

NFL betting is the crown jewel for all US sportsbooks. And, even though Fitzpatrick might not be recognized among fans of baseball, basketball or other sports, chances are most NFL fans will know him — and chances are they like him, too. That makes him a relatively cheap, but impactful, brand ambassador leading into the NFL season.

Over the course of 17 NFL seasons, he played for nine teams. Because of that, he is well-known among football fans across the country. Odds are, he was on everyone’s fantasy team at one point or another.

He also has a vibrant personality and is known for his lavish beard, which he began growing out during his time with the Buffalo Bills. He also pokes fun at himself, referring to himself as “the Amish Rifle.” He has also received the nickname “Fitzmagic,” which is used in the DraftKings ad.

Fitzpatrick’s Massachusetts connection

Here in Massachusetts, Fitzpatrick has even more appeal. (Perhaps that was another reason DraftKings partnered with him, as the Boston-based sportsbook is having its highest level of success in its home state.)

Fitzpatrick played college football for the Harvard Crimson. During his senior season in 2004, he accumulated 1,986 yards with 13 touchdowns while leading Harvard to a perfect 10-0 record and Ivy League Championship. He was named Ivy League Player of the Year.

Fitzpatrick ranks second on Harvard’s all-time list for pass completions, touchdowns, passing yards and pass completion percentage. He was also the first quarterback at Harvard to rush for over 1,000 yards in his college career.

After his time at Harvard, Fitzpatrick was drafted in the seventh round (No. 205) overall by the St. Louis Rams in the 2005 NFL Draft. He went on to play 17 years in the league, retiring after the 2021 season.

While Fitzpatrick never played for the Patriots, New England fans are familiar with his time in the NFL, as he played for the three other teams in the AFC East. Fitzpatrick played for the Bills from 2009-2012, the Jets from 2015-2016 and the Dolphins from 2019-2020.

DraftKings leading the way in Massachusetts

DraftKings is the market leader among the eight Massachusetts sports betting apps.

Last month, DraftKings surpassed $1 billion in total handle in Massachusetts. For comparison, DraftKings’ closest competitor, FanDuel Massachusetts, has generated a total handle of $671.3 million.

So far in Massachusetts, DraftKings has generated $103.5 million in sports betting revenue. In turn, the platform has provided $20.7 million in tax revenue to the state.

Photo by AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, Shutterstock.com
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Connor Grootenhuis

Connor Grootenhuis is the Managing Editor for PlayMA covering all things gambling and sports betting in Massachusetts. Based in the Bayou State of Louisiana, he is a lifelong sports fan who believes that every loss is a bad beat and every win is easy money.

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