Dan Bilzerian and DraftKings teamed up earlier this month for a contest titled “Beat Blitz,” a special fantasy football game that came with 10 VIP prizes for the top finishers, featuring a weekend in Cabo San Lucas with the King of Instagram himself.
The package included private airfare to the Mexican resort city for a weekend-long party that will likely feature plenty of shenanigans, and of course, hot scantily clothed babes.
“DK figured they hadn’t blown enough money on commercials, so they gave me 250k for 3 days in Cabo,” Bilzerian tweeted on October 14.
Though it’s not the first time DraftKings paid Bilzerian to use his celebrity towards the company’s promotion, the marketing scheme certainly comes at a rather perplexing time.
That’s because the daily fantasy sports (DFS) company has made a distinct pullback from poker this week, even asking World Series of Poker to remove its logo from its felt and signage for the upcoming November Nine almost-live broadcast on ESPN.
DraftKings and rival FanDuel are both currently on damage control, attempting to repair their tarnished images stemming from a DFS employee winning $350,000 on a $25 contest in late September. The media have swarmed the daily fantasy industry ever since, the publicized debacle leading several states and even the Department of Justice to open formal queries into the operations of both companies.
The commercials had been flooding television breaks for months and attracted hundreds of thousands of sports fans into participating in fantasy contests. But the scandal has also attracted the eyes of authorities.
As a result, DraftKings has been distancing itself from gambling and poker in an attempt to solidify its reputation as offering skill-based games. Last week, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) announced it had agreed to discontinue DraftKings’ sponsorship agreement per the DFS operator’s request.
The notion that DraftKings doesn’t want to be associated with the WSOP but is willing to continue marketing ploys with Bilzerian might point to the target audience of DFS.
Bilzerian is the world’s most notable playboy, a trust-fund-baby-turned-professional-poker-player-turned-actor- turned-social media celebrity.
The king of DFS teaming with the King of Instagram signals daily fantasy is going after the male crowd, a similar audience that allegedly makes up the majority of Bilzerian’s over 13 million followers on the mobile photo-sharing network.
By all accounts, the relationship is working favorably. In September, DraftKings flew four winners from a Blitz contest to party with Dan in NYC at the Electric Zoo music festival on Randall’s Island.
According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, 66 percent of all DFS players are male, with an average age of 37. What is surprising is that nearly half (47 percent) have a household income of at least $75,000, and 57 percent have obtained a college degree, with the average annual spending per fantasy player at $465.
For critics who believe DFS is preying on adolescents or young adults online, the statistics seem to prove otherwise.
Instead, they are, for the most part, middle-aged males, educated, and making upper middle-class income. And apparently, they also dream about owning a jet and yacht and frolicking with bikini-clad women, like the man they follow online.