My sports content is being overrun with ads from two online sports fantasy campaigns. It seems that every game, pre-game, and post-game has one or the other as a sponsor. Fantasy leagues have been invading the sports world for some time; we are asked to no longer root for teams but for individuals instead. And you thought there was no 'i' in team. Each channel that presents an NFL game seems to have either FanDuel or DraftKings as a major advertising sponsor.
Personally, I am not a fantasy sports participant, but I do understand the appeal. It can offer a great mathematical intrigue but lately it seems to be all about the cash. Each commercial reminds us how much money can be made daily, weekly and annually and parades real people, not actors, enjoying their financial success in fantasy bets.
These ads are all over every NFL show.. And the NFL seems to be embracing it, perhaps because of all the money that is pouring into the league. But the very nature of gambling and sports getting tied so closely together seems somewhat troubling for the honesty of the game. Will it lead to manipulation, scandal, and more? Are we headed down a slippery slope that could cause bigger troubles? When ads present how easy it seems to win, we should also ask how easy is it to lose. Maybe Pete Rose needs to be asked the effect gambling has had on his career. I'm afraid the dollars being spent to push consumers to bet will only lead to bigger problems for sports and for media.