Public Divided on Whether Fantasy Sports Commercials Should Run During Televised Games; Governor Christie’s ‘Really?’ Comment on Debate May Have Rung True

South Orange, NJ, October 29, 2015 — Despite ongoing investigations by the Justice Department and the FBI into whether daily sports fantasy games are a form of gambling, the American public is divided on whether commercials for those sites should be appearing in televised sports events.

A Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted this week (Oct. 26-28) among 820 random adults across the country by landline and cellphone, found that 41% felt they should be able to advertise and 39% felt they should not. (20% said they did not know.)

The poll has a margin of error of 3.5%, making the result a statistical dead heat.

“The ads from DraftKings and FanDuel are ubiquitous,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the Poll, which is sponsored by The Sharkey Institute. “They are definitely a new and impactful part of the sports landscape. It happened, seemingly, overnight. But there is certainly no hard push-back by viewers about running these ads.

“It seems to harken what {N.J.} Governor {Chris} Christie said in the debate last night about playing fantasy sports as an issue – ‘really?’”

Only 4% of respondents said they participated in a baseball fantasy game.

The Poll also asked if sponsors who promote products (such as fantasy sports), in an environment where its athletes are forbidden to participate (college athletes may not gamble), should not be allowed to advertise on any college sports. By 59% to 34%, respondents said they should not. A similar margin – 56%-36% – felt that beer advertising should not appear on college sports telecasts.   (It currently does). The Poll also noted that the NCAA has said the ads will not run during their college basketball tournaments, and 47% felt that was a good decision, versus only 30% saying it was a bad decision. (23% did not know).

About the poll:

This poll was conducted by telephone September 28-30 among 929 adults in the United States. The Seton Hall Sports Poll is conducted by the Sharkey Institute.

Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard landline and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been conducted regularly since 2006.

The results:

Daily fantasy sports websites are currently facing FBI and Dept. of Justice investigations. Do you think they should be able to advertise on televised sporting events during these investigations?

  1. Yes 41%
  2. No 39
  3. Don’t know 20

The NCAA has said that no fantasy sports website commercials will be allowed to run during the men’s or women’s basketball tournaments. Do you think this is a good decision or a bad decision?

  1. Good decision 47
  2. Bad decision 30
  3. Don’t know 23

Most collegiate athletes and students are too young to drink alcohol. College athletes are not allowed to gamble. Do you think sponsors who promote products that cannot legally be used by a large portion of college students should be allowed to advertise on collegiate athletic broadcasts?

  1. Yes 34
  2. No 59
  3. Don’t know 7


(asked only of those who answered “no” to question above) – Do you think beer advertisements should be allowed on televised collegiate athletic events if the theme of the commercial is to drink responsibility?

  1. Yes 36
  2. No 56
  3. Don’t know 9

Do you participate in any baseball fantasy games?

  1. Yes 4
  2. No 96

How closely do you follow sports, very closely, closely, not closely or not at all?

  1. Very closely 15
  2. Closely 36
  3. Not closely 30
  4. Not at all 15


One of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall University has been a catalyst for leadership — developing students in mind, heart and spirit — since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 academic programs, Seton Hall’s academic excellence has been singled out for distinction by The Princeton Review, U.S.News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Seton Hall, which embraces students of all religions, prepares its graduates to be exemplary servant leaders and global citizens. Its attractive main campus is located in suburban South Orange, New Jersey, and is only 14 miles by train, bus or car from New York City, offering a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. The university’s nationally recognized School of Law is prominently located in downtown Newark.

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