Online betting brands nearly tripled their ad spending on radio in the first nine months of 2021 to $30.0 million as competing sports books opened up their wallets to attract new customers and hold onto existing ones in a very competitive space. That’s up from $10.9 million spent in the first nine months of 2020, according to data compiled by Kantar.
While the spending numbers are impressive, online gambling brands like FanDuel, DraftKings, Bet MGM and others keep most of their powder dry for the fourth quarter to coincide with the NFL season. In fact, online betting brands dropped another roughly $9 million during fourth quarter 2020, or about half of their total $19.9 million 2020 radio outlay. The full year 2020 total was four times what the category spent in 2019.
The Kantar radio numbers are conservative, or perhaps incomplete, estimates when compared to numbers from BIA Advisory Services. Online sports betting is forecast to invest $125 million on over the air radio in 2022, per BIA.
Driving the trend is the growing number of states that have legalized online sports betting. Over the weekend, New York became the 19th state, along with the District of Columbia, where online gambling is live and legal. That means stations in radio’s largest market, New York City, can accept sportsbook advertising targeting New York residents. That’s on top of the money already being spent by online gambling brands on New York City stations targeting residents in the neighboring states of New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, where the practice was already legal.
The Big Apple isn’t the only radio market to benefit from the state Gaming Commission giving the green light to four mobile betting operators to begin taking wagers. Broadcasters along the New York State Thruway circuit of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany also stand to gain.
And three more of the country’s most populous states – California, Texas and Florida – are expected to legalize sports betting in the months and years ahead, MoffettNathanson Research is forecasting “exponential” growth in the sports betting marketplace over the next decade and that in turn is expected to fuel increased ad spending in the red-hot sector. After generating $1.13 billion in 2020, sports betting revenues were poised to more than double to $3.6 billion in 2021, according to the research firm as reported by MediaPost. By 2025 the market will be worth $11 billion before hitting $15 billion in 2030.
“One of radio’s most significant growth categories in 2021, sportsbook advertising, will continue in 2022 as more states legalize online gambling,” Christine Travaglini, President of rep firm Katz Radio Group, recently told Inside Radio for our Radio Forecast 2022 series. “Big brands understand that they need advertising to attract new customers and hold onto existing customers in a very competitive space. Their initial goals focus on getting consumers to download their app, which is currently how they determine their ROI.”
Yet radio captures only a fraction of the total sports betting ad pie. According to Kantar, $329.3 million was spent on online betting advertising during the first nine months of 2021, up from $182.7 million in the comparable 2020 period.