DraftKings and Prime Video knew TNF was an opportunity to change the way we approach sponsorships

March 6, 2023 | By Dora Wang, Content Marketing Manager

Draft Kings Sportsbook and Thursday Night Football logos

A one-of-a-kind broadcast needs a one-of-a-kind sponsorship.

In 2022, Prime Video became the first-ever streaming service to exclusively host NFL games with Thursday Night Football. This created an opportunity to make a new viewing experience for fans, including the advertising experience.

This situation called for a new kind of gameplan—one that delivered innovation and integration. In that moment, Amazon Ads found one of its most valuable players: DraftKings.

“As a digital sports entertainment and gaming company, we are always looking for ways to drive innovation forward—especially during one of the most active times of the year for sports betting activity,” said CMO at DraftKings, Stephanie Sherman. “Collaborating with one of the world's leading technology brands in order to offer engaging and creative content to viewers of TNF on Prime Video was a tremendous opportunity for us.”

See how DraftKings and Prime Video worked together to create a new kind of sponsorship for TNF, plus insights about what they accomplished in year one.

Integrating DraftKings into the TNF broadcast

Prime Video and DraftKings started with the same objective—delight customers by delivering an enhanced, premium viewing experience. The core of the sponsorship would be incorporating DraftKings into the broadcast while recognizing the specific tone needed to integrate them seamlessly.

“We wanted to take a bold, integrated approach to evolve the way fans watch a game by incorporating sports betting into the broadcast, while also providing a safe and regulated way to bet on sports,” Sherman explained.

This perspective shaped DraftKings’ approach to their creative executions, beyond standard ads. “We wanted to create cohesive and exciting content that resonated with viewers from the TNF-themed offerings to showcasing the look and feel of our branding,” Sherman said. Consistency was important to help viewers associate DraftKings with TNF and get a good feel for the brand.

DraftKings worked closely with Prime Video, including the TNF talent and production team, to make sure their sponsorship offered viewers topical and engaging content and promotions all season long.

Ryan Fitzpatrick and Richard Sherman appear in custom content for DraftKings prior to the Thursday Night Football game.

A first-of-its-kind team-up

For DraftKings, “Teaming up with Prime Video—an innovator in live streaming content—allowed us to create opportunities that are not common in traditional league sponsorship deals.”

The DraftKings brand appeared both during and outside of games, with standard ads as well as custom content, featured segments, and more. As Sherman described it, “We were able to showcase our brand in an authentic way that spoke to our customers and sports fans, going beyond a typical media buy.”

One way the sponsorship came to life is the segment “TNF Three Play,” which appeared weekly during TNF Tonight, where on-air talent previewed a same-game parlay (a combination of multiple bets within a single game).

“It was a seamless way to incorporate DraftKings offerings live on air, while simultaneously driving traffic to our mobile app and encouraging engagement with fans throughout the country,” Sherman said.

Other activations included odds attribution shown during TNF Tonight, and a weekly feature on the Wednesday show The Pile On.

A winning record for year one

“It was an exciting NFL season with TNF on Prime Video drawing millions of viewers each week,” Sherman said.

It was also in line with the brand’s marketing philosophy: “Being able to reach a high volume of customers during a standalone NFL broadcast further reinforces our data-driven and analytic approach to marketing spend and customer acquisition strategies.”

As the echo of this season’s final whistle fades, DraftKings looks forward to the future: “We are seeing a lot of development and innovation happening across sports, giving fans more options to view the games they want with more flexibility, which is really exciting,” Sherman said. “For DraftKings, we have seen success with Prime Video aiding in our marketing strategy around brand awareness not just for existing customers but also as new states legalize sports gambling. It’s been great to interact with fans in a new way that wasn’t available a year ago.”

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