How Fantasy Sports Ad Dollars Affected Networks

Daily fantasy sports sites are taking a beating from New York’s Attorney General and that pain could be felt by Fox, CBS, NBC, ESPN and other networks that have been pumped up by ad dollars from DraftKings and FanDuel.

After TV scored a surprisingly strong ad sales month in September, analyst Michael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson took a closer look at the impact the Daily Fantasy Sports sites had on revenues.

Using data from Kantar media, Nathanson found that DraftKings spent $65 million and FanDuel spent $53 million, combining for $118 million. That represented 3% of total ad revenue for the month.

Fox had the biggest sales, taking in $24 million in September. Fox was followed by the other football broadcasters. CBS sold $21.5 million in commercials to the fantasy sites, NBC had $21.3 million and ESPN had $17.9 million. Fantasy Sports represented 7% of ESPN’s ad sales, the largest share of any network.

In all, Fantasy Sports spent more than $1 million in 13 different networks. The others were ABC, Spike, Comedy Central, TNT, ESPN2, MTV, TBS, Discovery and the NFL Network.

In a report Wednesday, Nathanson notes that the fantasy sports weren’t the biggest advertisres on TV during September. AT&T, which was No. 1, spent nearly twice as much as DraftKings (which ranked 10th) and FanDuel (15th) combined.

“That being said, we believe that the presence of DFS in expensive NFL time slots helped create a tighter scatter market in September,” Nathanson said. “.While the category is obviously not as large as autos, films, health care or CPG, the birth of a new category was incremental to the market and had to be a factor in quarter’s upside to ad estimates. Looking out, network owners should be concerned if regulators determine that DFS is "is nothing more than a rebranding of sports betting" as claimed by New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman."

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.