College athletics put further distance between itself and daily fantasy sports Wednesday, as ESPN and College Football Playoff officials agreed not to air ads for DFS companies during the national semifinals or championship game, according to reports from ESPN and the New York Times.
The NCAA had previously barred its broadcast partners from airing ads from daily fantasy sites during its championship event, including the men’s and women’s basketball Division-I tournaments and the College World Series. But the College Football Playoff is not managed by the NCAA, but rather a coalition of the 10 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences and Notre Dame.
The NCAA, which views daily fantasy sports as gambling and has a policy against accepting advertising gambling businesses, has had an oppositional relationship with daily fantasy’s leading operators dating back to August. NCAA president Mark Emmert has twice asked leading sites DraftKings and FanDuel to cease offering contests based on college sports.
Perhaps ironically, Emmert said Wednesday that the NCAA is having “robust” conversations about using Las Vegas as March Madness site.
Via the ESPN.com report:
“I think the membership is trying to figure out what’s the right way to approach this issue again,” Emmert said. “Where does the membership want to be in this space? How do you manage what often seems to be a hypocritical stance? Let’s talk about it.”
Both DraftKings and FanDuel—along with a handful of other sites—continue to offer college games, at least for now. But it’s worth noting that the proposed regulations by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey include discontinuing college events, and though the sites haven’t commented point-by-point on the proposal, both issued statements expressing general support. Those regulations would apply only to Massachusetts-based consumers, but it wouldn’t come as a shock if DraftKings and FanDuel put an end to the contests, which represent a small portion of the sites’ overall liquidity.
Both sites have also stepped back from the mammoth ad spend of August-October. Pulling info from iSpot.tv, ESPN reported that DraftKings spent just $400,000 on television commercials in the second week of November, compared with $13.7 million in the first week of September.