Legendary New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees faked being struck by lightning as part of a promotional stunt for betting company PointsBet.
A video clip posted to Twitter on Friday showed Brees filming a commercial for PointsBet in Catatumbo, Venezuela, a location known for its lightning strikes, when a bolt apparently hits him and knocks the production off kilter.
It was viewed more than 1 million times as of midday Friday.
Brees confirmed in a subsequent video that he’s perfectly fine and “buzzing” about the sportsbook’s latest offer involving its “lightning bets,” which allow users to make in-game wagers.
The stunt comes as online sportsbooks gain popularity and fight for customers.
“Well it’s certainly a shock, literally and figuratively,” said Patrick Rishe, director of the sports business program at Washington University in St. Louis. “I would say this is probably one of the worst decisions he’s made as a public figure.”
Rishe said it’s clear PointsBet tried to do something extraordinary to get attention in the online sports betting market, which is dominated by DraftKings
and FanDuel, “but boy, this really feels like it’s crossing the line.”
A representative for Brees did not respond for comment. Brees is an ambassador for PointsBet, which trades on the Australian Stock Exchange and has operations in the United States, Canada and Ireland.
Drew Brees ‘Fine’ After Lightning Marketing Stunt, per Source
Former NFL quarterback Drew Brees appeared to be struck by lightning while filming a commercial for PointsBet Sportsbook in Catatumbo along Lake Maracaibo in a video that went viral on Friday morning. However, it all appears to have been staged.
A video on Twitter shows Brees in front of a camera preparing to shoot before a flash of light hits and the camera appears to fall on the ground.
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer has confirmed from a source that the video was a stunt and that Brees is fine.
ESPN’s Katherine Terrell also said that she texted with Brees and confirmed that he was not struck by lightning. Saints beat writer Nick Underhill also reported that Brees is O.K. and that the entire situation was a “spoof.”
On Monday, Brees said that he was heading to a “top-secret location” to shoot a new promo video for PointsBet. PointsBet released a statement saying it is aware of the incident on Twitter.
“We are aware of the media coverage regarding PointsBet brand ambassador Drew Brees,” the statement read.
“We are in communication with Brees’ team and will continue to monitor events throughout the coming hours. At this stage we will not be making any further comment.”
Brees retired from the NFL following the 2020 season, but has remained busy over the past two years. Last season, he worked for NBC’s football coverage, and he has appeared in commercials for multiple brands.
In 2021, Brees signed with PointsBet as a brand ambassador and even gave Brees an equity stake. He has appeared in a series “Live Your Bet Life” commercials for PointsBet, which feature Brees doing things like climbing Mount Everest, deep sea fishing and flying to space on a rocket.