Super Bowl’s most popular advertiser out, DraftKings in

Rows of american football balls in NFL

Every year for the past 37 years, football fans have anxiously waited for the Super Bowl. Not just for the excitement of the hits and breakout runs, but also for the commercials. It has become an annual tradition to determine who can outdo whom with the most creative spots, some of which can cost over $5 million, just for the airtime. One advertiser has become a standard feature over these past 37 years, always expected to bring something new and exciting to the game, apart from the quarterback sacks and last-second touchdowns. Super Bowl LV is not going to feature ads from Budweiser this year, which means no dalmatian sticking out his tongue at his jealous friends and no Clydesdales. However, there will be a first this year, as DraftKings has picked up a couple of spots to highlight sports gambling this year. The company better be ready to wow viewers, or it will be sidelined quicker than a red-shirted rookie.

Budweiser decided to forego Super Bowl ads this year in order to focus on raising awareness for COVID-19 vaccines. The company feels that it has a larger social responsibility and that its marketing dollars can be better spent ensuring everyone is educated during an event that can draw over 100 million viewers. However, Budweiser’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB), isn’t completely giving up on its annual ritual, and will have some spots running on digital channels, where the cost is much less. In addition, some AB brands, such as Bud Light and Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade, will be featured in Super Bowl spots.

Other beverage companies are going to be absent, as well. Coca-Cola is out because it wants to “[invest] in the right resources,” while PepsiCo is changing its lineup so it can put more effort into the Super Bowl halftime show, which it is sponsoring. That means Pepsi and Coke won’t be battling as the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers battle, but PepsiCo plans on having some of its second-stringers, like Mountain Dew and Frito-Lay, make appearances in TV spots.

As an indication of the changing gambling environment in the U.S., DraftKings will have several ads on TV during the Big Game. There will be two 15-second commercials appearing in the second and third quarters that will promote a fourth-quarter gambling pool that is free to join. The sports gambling and fantasy sports operator doesn’t have any direct sports gambling promotions lined up for the Super Bowl, but it all starts with baby steps. 

The betting pool will offer options such as who scores the first touchdown in the final quarter, the length of the longest play and more. DraftKings is prepared to dish out the winnings, with most payouts going from $3-$25,000. A top prize of $1 million is also up for grabs, ready to be given to the individual, or individuals, who correctly select all options.

Super Bowl LV is now just six days away and the Chiefs are still slight favorites to win. This game is expected to be a quarterback battle between veteran Tom Brady of the Buccaneers and the young, but highly-skilled, Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs. Kansas City is looking to defend last year’s Super Bowl championship, but is only getting three points on the spread. That’s a good indication that oddsmakers expect this to be a strong battle for victory.