DraftKings Sportsbook And Charles Barkley Mounting Full-Scale TV Campaign

Written By Martin Derbyshire on August 10, 2018 - Last Updated on March 7, 2022
Charles Barkley

The new DraftKings Sportsbook is cornering the market on mobile sports betting in New Jersey before there’s even anyone else in it.

Plus, it’s doing so with the help of an aggressive advertising campaign obviously aimed at more than just the Garden State.

The DraftKings Sportsbook mobile app was the first to launch in the burgeoning New Jersey sports betting market. Words regarding the launch of a New Jersey mobile sports betting app of its own were barely out of MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren‘s mouth last week when DraftKings Sportsbook kicked off an invite-only soft launch of its product.

It went live to the general public on Monday and MGM still hasn’t said another word about its mobile sportsbook or when it’s coming.

Caesars has promised to launch a mobile sports betting app by the Sept. 6 start of the 2018 NFL season. However, the Caesars Casino & Sports mobile sportsbook app, and every other sports betting app are now in serious danger of becoming little more than an afterthought.

A national DraftKings advertising campaign

That’s because DraftKings Sportsbook is kicking off a national advertising campaign for its product before its physical sportsbook location at partner Resorts Hotel Casino in Atlantic City is even open. It is also running ads before anybody else hoping to compete with it are even ready to launch.

The campaign, which DraftKings Sportsbook PR Manager Aliza Solc says will launch nationally on Aug. 13, stars NBA Hall of Famer and notorious gambler Charles Barkley.

According to Solc, it is designed to demonstrate how DraftKings Sportsbook can help bring sports fans closer to games by having a little something on the line.

There’s a series of TV spots and social media videos (see below) featuring the DraftKings character Dr. Aftkings diagnosing Barkley with various sports-related disorders. Obviously, he prescribes DraftKings Sportsbook as the cure.

There’s even mention of a $200 deposit match bonus and a Week 1 NFL promotion offering players the chance to win a share of $1 million. The kind of giveaways designed to build a loyal customer base before sports gamblers will even be aware they can place a bet anywhere else online.

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DraftKings Sportsbook only in New Jersey

What the ads don’t say, without reading the fine print, is that DraftKings Sportsbook is only available in New Jersey.

Clearly, the company is targeting the entire US-wide sports betting market before it even exists. The ads will have immediate results in New Jersey. Plus, they represent a long-term play aimed at the rest of the country.

The campaign is designed to help DraftKings Sportsbook take a stranglehold on the New Jersey sports betting market. Plus, it’s meant to leave the rest of the US chomping at the bit to get in on the action.

Old school versus new school

The DraftKings Sportsbook launch demonstrates a huge difference in how startups and old-school casino giants do business.

DraftKings is going after the US sports betting market with everything it has. MGM, Caesars, and the like seem content to wait for it to come to them.

The old school hopes brand recognition and long-term relationships built on trust is enough. But the old school better be careful. They could wait too long to launch. Or,  launch a product and promotions not powerful enough to draw in new customers. If that’s the case, DraftKings Sportsbook could prove to have the market cornered before there even is one.

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Martin Derbyshire

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.

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