BetMGM, DraftKings Release Commercials Ahead Of NFL Season


Tired of sports betting advertisements? If you are, you aren’t alone. 

BetMGM’s newest commercials, however, should at a minimum be palatable. In an ideal world for the sports betting operator, the commercials actually keep viewers entertained. 

BetMGM announced Tuesday that it will air an episodic series of advertisements in coming months starring Jamie Foxx, Vanessa Hudgens, and sports figures who include Kevin Garnett, Marshawn Lynch, Jalen Rose, Wayne Gretzky, and Barry Sanders. The company debuted the first ads of the new campaign on social media platforms Tuesday, and the advertisements will also air during Thursday Night Football. 

One of the ads that featured Barry Sanders was surprisingly decent as entertainment, a nice change of pace from most sports betting commercials. 

“Entertainment is at the core of BetMGM and we want this campaign to keep viewers on the edge of their seats in a way that’s unexpected from the sports betting and gaming industry,” Raymond Doyle, vice president of brand at BetMGM, said in a press release.

Trust your gut?

Even as a die-hard Detroit Lions fan, my betting platform of choice isn’t swayed by a Barry Sanders cameo. I’m typically alternating between legal mobile sportsbooks depending on where I can find the best line for a particular game. 

Other recreational bettors (I’m no pro either, but I’m not opposed to line shopping!) may opt to stick with using one or two mobile sportsbooks for simplicity’s sake. Simple can be easy, and sometimes ease of use is the goal when looking to quickly place a three-team NFL parlay. BetMGM’s newest ads certainly play on the entertainment value recreational users seek from sports betting, rather than the reasoned logic needed to improve as a bettor.

In one commercial, Jamie Foxx calls up several celebrities — including Garnett, Rose, and Gretzky — asking them for betting advice. After they’re all tied up with other activities that prevent them from helping, he walks over to Hudgens at a party. Hudgens suggests that Foxx trust his gut. 

I thought this day would never come but football is back baby! You got any tips for your boy? @BetMGM #TheKingOfSportsbooks #ad

— Jamie Foxx (@iamjamiefoxx) September 7, 2022

Sound betting advice? Hardly. But I’m sure everyone knows a friend who suggests a bet because their gut feeling says that’s the right play. That’s relatable, and it sets up the commercial for a potentially enjoyable ending.

Instead, the final seconds of the ad remove all relatability and make me wonder if Foxx pays people to hang out with him. 

After placing his $100 bet, Foxx decides to interrupt every conversation in his general vicinity by yelling to the party, “Let’s go with our gut!”

Calm down, Jamie, you haven’t even won the parlay yet.

After Foxx’s outburst, partygoers have the very normal response of … breaking into applause. The commercial’s producers clearly have a strong grasp on normal human behavior!

Barry Sanders: pickleball star 

While not swayed to use BetMGM by Sanders’ appearance in an ad, I have to admit I chuckled at the commercial starring the legendary running back.  

Foxx calls Sanders, who is playing pickleball when he answers the phone. As Foxx goes through the NFL games he wants to place in a parlay, Sanders reacts to his own pickleball performance. Foxx misinterprets these reactions as agreeing or disagreeing with his suggested bets. 


At the end, Sanders hangs up on Foxx, and Sanders’ pickleball instructor asks what Foxx wanted. 

“Oh, I’ve got no idea,” Sanders said, getting into a stance to return a serve. “Come on, serve it up.”

I wasn’t on the floor laughing, but Sanders showed better acting chops than I anticipated. 

DraftKings shares responsible gambling ads

While BetMGM announced its line of new commercials, Caesars announced in February that it planned to reduce its marketing expenses, including spending less on TV commercials. Despite the announcement, Caesars ran another commercial featuring the Manning brothers and JB Smoove in August, indicating the company will at least have some continued form of broadcast marketing presence. 

DraftKings also leans on celebrity-focused commercials. It recently announced a line of responsible gambling advertisements, including one that features famous skateboarder Tony Hawk. In the commercial, Hawk emphasizes that even he wears a helmet and knee pads when skateboarding, and bettors should “practice safe bets,” which happens to be the name of the campaign. 

This Responsible Gaming Education Month #RGEM2022, @DraftKings announces its newest #responsiblegaming initiative – the Practice Safe Bets advertising campaign feat. @tonyhawk and @mikethemiz. Learn more here: @AmericanGaming

— DraftKings News (@DraftKingsNews) September 7, 2022

In addition to Hawk, pro wrestler The Miz will also appear in some DraftKings responsible gambling ads. 

“Responsible gaming advertising is a tremendous opportunity to reach DraftKings players in a fun and educational way,” Stephanie Sherman, DraftKings’ chief marketing officer, said in a press release. “We chose The Miz and Tony Hawk for the ‘practice safe bets’ campaign because of their extensive fan bases and because their personalities will break through the noise to reinforce why using responsible gaming tools is so important.”

The various commercials might raise questions about the continued marketing spend of sports betting companies, many of which are struggling to become profitable. They’re also a test of patience for sports fans, as some viewers are sick of seeing mediocre sports betting commercials. 

At least the Barry Sanders BetMGM advertisements look entertaining enough to avoid a groan or an eye roll when they pop on the screen this NFL season.

Photo: Shutterstock

Author: Ryan Gonzales