The online sports betting industry has made its way Massachusetts, and with it comes the presence of sportsbook ads during sports broadcasts. The industry has been live for less than a week, but fans watching Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics games have been inundated with sports betting ads.
Earlier this week, I watched a Celtics game to get the first-person experience and saw nine sports betting ads.
On Thursday, I decided to watch a Bruins game to get that experience, too.
Now that Massachusetts sports betting is a reality, what do Bruins broadcasts look like with the addition of sportsbook ads? I watched the Bruins vs. Jets game on Thursday, and here is my experience viewing sportsbook ads during the broadcast.
In total, there were five sportsbook commercials.
Sportsbook ads in Bruins game vs. Jets
Bruins games in Massachusetts are broadcast on the New England Sports Network (NESN).
In this particular broadcast, sportsbook ads were present in two main ways: commercials and virtual ads on the boards.
FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM all aired commercials during this Bruins game.
FanDuel Massachusetts led the way with three commercials. In fact, it was the first commercial shown, as the company held the first commercial spot in the first media timeout of the game.
In this 30-second ad, a multitude of celebrities including Kay Adams, Boomer Esiason, Charles Barkley, Jordan Spieth and Rob Gronkowski were shown promoting the FanDuel MA mobile app. This same commercial was shown later in the second period as well.
FanDuel aired a different commercial later in the first period that did not feature any celebrities. Rather, this ad simply used text on on the screen, as well as a narrator.
The lone DraftKings Massachusetts commercial aired in the first period. It was the first commercial to be shown in the second media timeout of the game.
Despite being broadcast during a hockey game, the ad was focused on March Madness, and featured J.J. Redick playing basketball. Like FanDuel’s two commercials, this was a 30-second ad.
The third and final sportsbook to air a commercial during this broadcast was BetMGM Massachusetts. It was the last of the sportsbook commercials to be shown, and came late in the 2nd period.
The 30-second spot featured Jalen Rose and focused on BetMGM’s welcome bonus in Massachusetts, which involves up to $1,000 in bonus bets.
Interestingly, no sportsbook commercials were shown in the 3rd period.
RELATED: DraftKings Kicks Off Massachusetts Advertising With ‘Bet Local’ Commercial
Sportsbook ads on boards
One unique aspect of the NHL game viewing experience is the emergence of virtual ads on the boards. This is a concept that is new to the 2022-23 NHL season.
Virtual board ads allow each regional network to input ads relevant to home audiences. This game was being played at Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg, but virtual ads allowed NESN to show local Massachusetts ads where Canadian or Winnipeg ads might be.
Throughout the game, FanDuel, DraftKings and Betway logos were featured on the virtual boards. Out of these three sportsbooks, FanDuel had the most air time.
The DraftKings and Betway logos appeared in the same spots each time they were shown, while the FanDuel logo appeared in multiple spots. It was most prominently featured in large spots behind both bets for the entirety of the second period.
Betway Massachusetts had significant air time on the virtual boards despite not being live in the Commonwealth. The Betway MA app will launch in January 2024.
Lack of in-game betting odds
One thing I noticed was that no graphics popped up during the game showing live betting odds.
Earlier this week I watched the Celtics vs. Rockets game on NBC Sports Boston, and DraftKings graphics were shown by the score bug multiple times throughout the game. These focused on bets for the game, as well as live updated odds.
In addition, it’s interesting to note that the Celtics broadcast featured nine sportsbook commercials, while the Bruins broadcast featured only five.
Boston Bruins betting in Massachusetts
Six sportsbook apps are now live in Massachusetts. 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 NHL game, meaning Bruins fans can bet on their team from the comfort of their own home.
In fact, that has already been happening. During the opening weekend of MA online sports betting, the Bruins were the most bet-on team on DraftKings Massachusetts.
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.
At full capacity, Massachusetts could feature up to as many as 15 online betting apps.