The fantasy sports industry is a growing source of ad dollars for podcasters this fall as brands remain closely tied to the NFL season. Magellan AI reports fantasy sports ad category spending totaled an estimated $3.4 million last month, a 121% increase compared to August. And compared to September last year, the segment’s monthly spend increased 132% year over year.
Betting on real sports continues to generate even more ad spending than on fantasy leagues. Two brands dominate the segment. Magellan says FanDuel was the third-biggest podcast advertiser last month, spending $3 million while rival DraftKings was fourth with $2.4 million in podcast spending.
“FanDuel has spent way more than they spent last year,” said Magellan CEO Cameron Hendrix. He said during a webinar last week that FanDuel spent an estimated $6.6 million during the first nine months of 2021 on podcasts. That compares to $910,000 of spending during the same period a year ago. Magellan says FanDuel was the third-biggest podcast advertiser last month, spending $3 million while rival DraftKings was fourth with $2.4 million in podcast spending.
As FanDuel’s spending has grown, its reach beyond Sports podcasts has too. Magellan says 82% of the brand’s ads ran on Sports podcasts last September. This year 37% of its ads did. “It’s still a big chunk of the shows they were running on, but they obviously went a lot farther and wider and they are incorporating a number of additional genres and a broader set of shows,” said Hendrix. Magellan says both FanDuel and DraftKings are using their podcast ads to incentivize their customers. But they’re doing it in different ways. FanDuel is giving betters 30-to-1 odds and a $5 bet can lead to $150 in winnings while DraftKings is giving users a $150 credit when they bet one dollar.
As podcast companies look forward to fourth quarter holiday retailer advertising, there are good signs coming from how Walmart has continued to expand its use of the medium this year. The retailer spent the most in June ($210,000) and September ($120,000) so far this year. Its message so far has been not about what is on store shelves, however. Walmart’s ads in June focused on how it was helping small business and the community while in September the focus shifted to promoting its flu shot availability. That change led to a different type of podcast where Walmart ads were most likely to be found.
“In June there was a big focus on Society & Culture, News and Comedy; in September there was a big shift towards Comedy,” said Hendrix, explaining, “Different messaging [calls for] different ways to access listeners in the podcast space.”
Magellan also highlighted how one consumer category – shoes – increased its podcast ad spending by 41% or $490,000 between August and September to capitalize on back to school shopping. And compared to a year ago, the segment’s spending was up 133%. Hendrix said the gains were primarily driven last month by increased spending from Adidas, which grew its podcast spend by $250,000, as well as New Balance (+$95,000) and the direct-to-consumer retailer Rothy’s (+$70,000).
Magellan analyzes podcast advertising data from the top 3,000 podcasts in the U.S., as ranked by Apple Podcasts. Magellan’s proprietary model is used to estimate advertising spend. It includes factors such as the number of ads and variation in ad load detected for a given episode, number of downloads for each episode, and estimated CPMs as reported in select media kits and estimated based on popularity.