In the era of US sports betting, fans see tons of sportsbook ads during sports broadcasts. The same has been true so far in Massachusetts. Fans watching Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins games have been inundated with sports betting ads.
So, I decided to watch a Celtics game to get the first-person experience.
Now that Massachusetts sports betting is a reality, what do Celtics broadcasts look like with the addition of sportsbook ads? I watched the Celtics vs. Rockets game on Monday, and here is my experience viewing sportsbook ads during the broadcast.
Spoiler: There were nine sportsbook commercials.
Sportsbook ads in Celtics game vs. Rockets
Massachusetts sportsbook ads were present right from the opening tip.
In fact, they were present before the game even started.
Prior to the game, NBC Sports Boston showed a graphic of the pre-game betting odds on DraftKings Massachusetts. The graphic showed the spread, moneyline and total for the game.
Once the game started, I noticed that sportsbook ads were present in a variety of ways. They were generally shown in three types: commercials, graphics and on signs around the arena.
Three Massachusetts sportsbooks aired commercials throughout the course of the broadcast: DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM.
All three platforms announced their app was now available in Massachusetts, while also showcasing their MA sports betting welcome bonuses. In addition, all three companies focused on celebrity appearances during their commercials.
DraftKings and FanDuel each had four commercials, while BetMGM had one. More specifically, the FanDuel and DraftKings commercials were shown once during each quarter, while BetMGM’s lone ad came during halftime.
FanDuel Massachusetts had commercials during the first commercial break of each quarter. In the first and third quarters, the company aired 30-second commercials featuring a multitude of celebrities including Kay Adams, Boomer Esiason, Charles Barkley and, perhaps most notably, former Patriots legend Rob Gronkowski.
The FanDuel commercials shown during the second and fourth quarters were without celebrities. These ads simply used text on on the screen, as well as a narrator.
Just like FanDuel, DraftKings aired one commercial in each quarter. However, the FanDuel commercials aired before the DraftKings commercials each time.
Celebrities appearing in the four DraftKings ads included Kevin Hart, Tony Hawk and Boston greats David Ortiz, Zdeno Chara and Brian Scalabrine. The former Boston athletes helped promote the sportsbook’s “Bet Local” mantra.
The lone BetMGM Massachusetts ad was broadcast during halftime and featured former Celtics great Kevin Garnett. It focused on BetMGM’s welcome bonus in Massachusetts, which involves up to $1,000 in bonus bets.
It’s also worth noting that all three companies listed Responsible Gambling info on the screen during their ads. DraftKings even dedicated a whole commercial to responsible gambling. In a commercial that aired in the fourth quarter, Hawk related wearing a helmet while skateboarding to practicing safe bets.
During this specific broadcast, only DraftKings graphics were shown, but they were shown multiple times.
In the very beginning of the game, a rather large DraftKings graphic popped up at the bottom of the screen while the game was going on. It showed a bet titled “DraftKings 3 in first 3.” This refers to a bet in which users can bet on whether there will be over or under three made 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the game. Only one 3-pointer was made during this time, so the graphic showed that the under had hit.
Then, the graphic changed to a generic message stating that the DraftKings app is now available in MA, and to download it to your mobile device.
This is an interesting way to keep sports bettors engaged. However, it can also be disruptive, as the graphic took up a large portion of the screen while the game was being played.
Later in the game, other graphics showed the updated game odds on DraftKings. This occurred with a few minutes left in both the second and fourth quarters, and did not happen while the game was going on.
RELATED: 3 FanDuel Ads Potentially Violate Massachusetts Sportsbook Regulations
The third way in which sportsbook ads were evident during this broadcast was with signage around the arena.
For example, the DraftKings logo was evident on the padding underneath both baskets at the Toyota Center in Houston. In addition, there were small electronic ad boards higher up behind each basket, and the DraftKings logo was seen frequently. It rotated through with other company logos.
The center court table on the far side also showed the DraftKings logo multiple times.
Sports betting ads are here to stay in Massachusetts. They were prominent during Monday night’s Celtics broadcast, and they’ll continue to be seen moving forward.
In my experience with this specific broadcast, the commercials from each sportsbook most benefitted new bettors looking to sign up. They focused on how to get started with the sign-up process, as well as how to start claiming welcome bonuses.
Viewers who already have sportsbook accounts most likely benefitted more from the graphics. These focused on bets for the game, as well as live updated odds.
Boston Celtics betting in Massachusetts
Celtics fans can bet on NBA games with six different Massachusetts sportsbooks. They are DraftKings, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, WynnBET, FanDuel and Barstool Sportsbook. All of these platforms offer a wide variety of ways to bet on every NBA game.
More apps are on the way. Betr plans to go live in April, while Bally Bet and Fanatics Sportsbook will launch in May. Betway will launch in January 2024.
In addition to Celtics betting, basketball fans in Massachusetts can bet on NCAA March Madness games, as well as enter a variety of different NCAA Tournament bracket contests.