DK and FD Fantasy Sport Betting Ads to be Discontinued by SEC Network

Draft Kings

Draft KingsThe seemingly everywhere and ever present DraftKings (DK) and FanDuel (FD) TV ads aired during the first week of the 2015 National Football League (NFL) will no longer be broadcasted by the SEC Network.

WVTM-TV reported that the SEC Network, the TV channel owned by ESPN Inc. has come to a decision to discontinue broadcasting the DK and FD advertisements. This was after the SEC Network received notice from Southeastern Conference (SEC) Commissioner Greg Sankey.

The SEC Commissioner had uttered doubts about the true representation of fantasy sports betting, and has acknowledged that there are now questions that must be answered to determine if fantasy sport betting is a form of skill game or gambling. The Commissioner’s statement came after the call to arms letter of Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), urging Congress to investigate the legality of daily fantasy sport betting. The Congressman on the other hand, was spurred into action after viewing the NFL opening last weekend in which he witnessed waves of TV ads aired during the NFL broadcast.

Commissioner Sankey told WVTM 13 that he has conveyed to ESPN that in moving forward with their inclusion in the SEC Network as the featured conference, it would be appropriate for the network to exclude the DK and FD TV commercials.

In conjunction to the WVTN 13 report, the International Business Times wrote that the SEC is only one of several NCAA conference administrators that have sent letters directly to DraftKings and FanDuel during the week following Rep. Pallone Jr’s call for a congressional investigation. The letter had accordingly ordered the two daily fantasy sport-betting companies to cease from offering contests on college football teams and matches.

The International Business Times quoted Mark Strothkamp, the Associate Director of Enforcement at NCAA, as saying that fantasy sports leagues are threats to the integrity of collegiate games and to the well-being of student-athletes as well. Accordingly, Mr. Strothcamp conveyed to ESPN that sports betting have been defined by NCAA member schools as elements that put something at risk, including payments of entry fee, particularly in fantasy league games. This is because the condition also offers opportunity of winning something in return.

In light of such definition, the NCAA Director of Enforcement made it clear that coaches, administrators, student athletes, members of the staff of the NCAA national office are prohibited from participating in a fantasy league game requiring payment of an entry fee.

The SEC Commissioner supports the NCAA’s stance, given the NCAA’s related By-laws for sports betting, including fantasy sport betting. Mr. Sankey explained that in view of such By-laws and the loss of eligibility of NCAA athletes as players in the daily fantasy sport contests, it would be appropriate for the SEC and SEC Network as well, not to gain profit from collegiate football contests.

The Guardian reports that the combined advertising spend of DraftKings and FanDuel for around 8,000 televisions spots during the initial week of the NFL season, amounted to $27 million. Yet the abundance of those TV commercials had re-ignited contentions about fantasy sports betting as another form of sports gambling.