If you’re a sports fan in Maryland, you’re probably aware that legalized sports betting launched in the state last week. The only way one could have avoided that news was to stay offline and avoid television. Which, I’m guessing, most sports fans find hard to do.
With Maryland online sports betting fresh in mind, I turned on the Washington Wizards vs. Brooklyn Nets game that took place Wednesday night in Brooklyn.
Sports betting & the Wizards watch experience
Along with taking part in a little NBA betting of my own, my goal was to see if the newly legalized sports betting in Maryland warranted mention during the game, which was an NBC Sports Washington broadcast. Since Maryland doesn’t boast a pro basketball team of its own, rooting for the Wizards is naturally the next best choice. Thus, sportsbooks have a captive audience of Maryland sports fans to market to during the game.
The Nets ultimately picked up a 113-107 win over the Wizards in this Eastern Conference matchup. But more importantly, let’s look at the sportsbook action that took place before, after and in between plays.
Wizards pregame show features FanDuel
Not wanting to miss any of the action (or promos), I researched the night’s Wizards betting odds and was ready before tip-off.
Sports betting ads were slim before the game, though I tuned in to watch the Wizards pregame show, sponsored by none other than FanDuel Sportsbook.
Once the game started, the sports betting banter really got started.
The FanDuel wait is over — and under
7:43 p.m. Just over two minutes after tip-off, the first break in action unfolded. With that, the attention immediately returned to FanDuel, where the announcers began discussing the game’s point total (228).
A FanDuel-emblazoned graphic appeared on the screen with stats on the over/under.
DraftKings has a message for Maryland
7:50 p.m. With the Nets ahead 13-11 and a time out on the court, the first DraftKings Maryland Sportsbook commercial aired during the game. The promo read:
“Maryland, the wait is over.”
Using plenty of Maryland-related visuals, the spot reminded viewers that the DraftKings app is live in Maryland. After mentioning the various bets available, the ad transitioned to DraftKings’ newest promo, offering new users $200 in bonus bets when they place a $5 bet on the app.
Read the room, BetMGM
8:01 p.m. A Kristaps Porzingis dunk moved the Wizards to within two points. With the score 23-21, another break in the game occurred. With that, it was time for BetMGM Sportsbook to get in on the action via a commercial featuring Hollywood megastar Jamie Foxx and NBA Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett. The two had a difference of opinion on whether to bet on the L.A. Lakers (Foxx) or the Boston Celtics (Garnett) while on the set of a movie.
While the spot was entertaining, perhaps BetMGM can find a Hollywood superstar with some East Coast ties for its next Maryland marketing attempt.
FanDuel finishes out the 1st
8:08 p.m. With the first quarter at an end, Brooklyn was up 29-28. Kevin Durant led the overall scoring with 16 points, while FanDuel led the charge with another promo spot.
Instead of the commercial being specifically Maryland-related, it was focused on the holidays. The FanDuel ad had a promo for first-time bettors, offering up to $1,000 back in a “no sweat first bet.”
Get hyped, Maryland!
8:11 p.m. With a little more than 30 seconds ticked off the clock in the second quarter, Nets coach Jacque Vaughn didn’t like what he saw and he called a quick timeout. While the coach discussed things with his team, the same DraftKings commercial that ran at 7:50, the one that told Maryland bettors to get hyped about “same game parlays, spreads, moneylines, props and more,” ran for a second time.
It’s Foxx & KG — again
8:18 p.m. With the score tied 35-35, it was time for another break. This time, it was BetMGM who had the repeat commercial, featuring Foxx and Garnett in the same beef over the Lakers and Celtics.
Halftime with FanDuel
8:37 p.m. With the Nets up 53-57 at the half, FanDuel started the break with an NBA-focused ad that offered new customers a “no sweat first bet” with up to $1,000 back in bonus bets if the bettor does not win. In addition to the bet guarantee, FanDuel offers all customers who bet at least $5 an offer of three months of NBA League Pass for free.
8:42 p.m. Much like the pregame show, FanDuel also sponsors the Wizards halftime update. During that spot, the hosts focused on how the Wizards needed to shut down the offense of Kevin Durant.
“It’s spa day!”
8:43 p.m. Jamie Foxx and Kevin Garnett are back for BetMGM. But this time, Foxx is trying to get his NBA picks in line. He interrupts Garnett’s spa day before calling Jalen Rose and speaking to Vanessa Hudgens for their NBA picks.
Is grandpa in a food coma or a real coma?
9:01 p.m. With the Nets up 67-63, the Washington Wizards called a timeout, making it time for the FanDuel holiday-inspired spot to run for a second time along with its offer of $1,000 back in bonus bets if you don’t win.
Hit me, FanDuel, one more time
9:47 p.m. With the Nets up 99-91 and under four minutes left on the clock, the FanDuel holiday spot is back with a shortened version of its holiday-focused commercial.
When all was said and done, a total of nine sportsbook advertisements ran during the game, with most of those spots coming during the first half. Outside of DraftKings, none of the other promos explicitly mentioned the launch of sports betting in Maryland.
This was a bit understandable in that the broadcast originated with a Washington D.C. network. Nevertheless, that’s still rather surprising given D.C.’s lackluster sports betting app and Maryland’s lack of an NBA team.