Drew Brees and PointsBet have been slammed over a “disgusting” PR stunt where they released a dramatic video appearing to show the NFL legend being struck by lightning, during filming for a commercial.
In the viral video, the former New Orleans Saints quarterback is seen filming near the Catatumbo River in Venezuela when a bolt of lightning appears to suddenly strike.
Brees had tweeted Monday that he was “excited to be flying to a top-secret location” to film a commercial for PointsBet – which runs promos for so-called “lightning bets”.
As concerns grew for Brees on social media, PointsBet refused to give up the stunt, releasing a cryptic statement where it failed to confirm what had taken place.
Several sports journalists including ESPN Saints reporter Katherine Terrell tweeted that he was “fine” and did not get struck by lightning.”
Finally, PointsBet released another video of Brees revealing it was all a marketing stunt.
Social media users reacted angrily to the PR ploy, calling it “disgusting” and telling the two parties to “do better”.
Social media users slam ‘disgusting’ PR stunt
PointsBet releases video revealing it was all a stunt
ESPN says Brees texted to say ‘he’s fine'
Video appears to show lightning strike
Video purports to show legendary quarterback Drew Brees being struck by lightning
16:12 , Rachel Sharp
Fans have been sent into a frenzy over a video that purported to show legendary NFL quarterback Drew Brees getting struck by lightning while filming a commercial.
The former New Orleans Saints quarterback tweeted on Monday that he was “excited to be flying to a top-secret location” later in the week where he would be filming a promo for PointsBet, a sports betting app that markets itself in the US as being the “ultimate sportsbook for all things NFL”.
Mr Brees had apparently been filming the commercial for the sports betting company in Venezuela near the Catatumbo River, a region that sees large lightning bolts displayed an average of 297 days a year, according to an analysis published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
Read the full story:
PointsBet and Drew Brees confirm lightning video was a stunt
16:24 , Rachel Sharp
PointsBet and Drew Brees have now confirmed that the video was a marketing stunt.
In a video posted on Twitter, Brees is seen announcing “free lightning bets” over the weekend.
What happened in the video?
16:30 , Rachel Sharp
A video has appeared on social media purporting to show legendary NFL quarterback Drew Brees being struck by lightning while filming a commercial.
Mr Brees had apparently been filming a commercial for PointsBet, a sports betting app that markets itself in the US as being the “ultimate sportsbook for all things NFL”.
Filming was taking place in Venezuela near the Catatumbo River.
The unverified Twitter video that purported to show the apparent lightning strike has been viewed nearly 400,000 times since it was shared early Friday. Mr Brees can be seen in the foreground of the video wearing a sweater with the number zero on it, while the iconic ripple of lightning over the Venezuelan river can be seen in the background.
A moment later, a large flash is seen on camera accompanied by a loud crack of thunder as the camera drops to the ground and a woman is heard shouting.
NFL star slammed by social media users for ‘disgusting’ stunt
16:41 , Rachel Sharp
Drew Brees and PointsBet are being slammed over their “disgusting” PR stunt after they released a dramatic video appearing to show the NFL legend being struck by lightning.
“So disappointed in Drew. People were legit worried for him and his family. This marketing ploy is disgusting,” one person wrote on Twitter after the betting company confirmed it was all a hoax.
“AWFUL ATTEMPT AT MARKETING. DO BETTER,” agreed another person.
Another person tweeted: “my 7 year old son just went into a panic attack after seeing that video and thinking he’s favorite QB was dead. now we have to take him to the hospital. shame on you all. he longer supports you either Drew.”
Sports betting rival welcomes angry fans
17:00 , Rachel Sharp
A rival sports betting company is welcoming people to its site as social media users voiced their outrage over the PR stunt.
Gaming Society commented on PointsBet’s video where Drew Brees revealed the lightning strike video was all a marketing ploy.
“If you’re looking for somewhere else to bet http://fanduel.com/gamingsociety,” it said.
Drew Brees tries to make light of stunt
17:15 , Rachel Sharp
Drew Brees has tried to make light of the stunt which sent fans into a tailspin worried for his safety.
“The lightning must’ve thought I was wearing a Falcons jersey, that’s why it tried to get me I’m fine…Who Dat!” he tweeted after it was all exposed as a ploy to promote “lightning bets” for sports betting company PointsBet.
Watch: Video which sent internet into frenzy
17:30 , Rachel Sharp
The internet went into a frenzy as a video began circulating of what appeared to show Drew Brees being struck by lightning.
The video turned out to be nothing more than a PR stunt for “lightning bets”.
Watch the video below:
Who is Drew Brees?
17:45 , Rachel Sharp
Drew Brees is a former NFL quartback for the New Orleans Saints.
The 43-year-old started his career at the Chargers before moving to the Saints in a football career that spanned two decades from 2001 to 2020.
He won the AP Offensive Player of the Year award twice and led the Saints to victory in Super Bowl XLIV in 2010.
He is married with four children.
Twitter user asks Brees if deaths by lightning are 'a joke to you’
18:00 , Rachel Sharp
Several people have taken to social media to slam the NFL legend over the PR stunt where he left fans fearing for his life for several hours.
One furious Twitter user went as far as to ask Drew Brees if he finds people being killed by lightning “a joke”.
“So this is a joke to you then?” one person asked.
The social media user shared an article about three people who died after being struck by lightning close to the White House.
How the stunt unfolded:
18:15 , Rachel Sharp
On Monday, Drew Brees tweeted that he was “flying to a top-secret location” to shoot a promo for sports betting company PointsBet.
On Friday, a video then circulated on Twitter appearing to show him filming near the Catatumbo River in Venezuela when a bolt of lightning struck.
As concerns grew for Brees on social media, PointsBet refused to give up the stunt, releasing a cryptic statement where it failed to confirm what had taken place and said it was “in communication with Brees’ team”.
Finally, PointsBet released another video of Brees where the NFL legen confirmed it was all a marketing stunt for the betting firm.
How sports journalists foiled the plot early
18:30 , Rachel Sharp
As concerns grew for Drew Brees on social media, PointsBet refused to give up the stunt, releasing a cryptic statement where it failed to confirm what had taken place.
But, before the company could reveal it was all a PR stunt, several sports journalists foiled the plot.
ESPN Saints reporter Katherine Terrell tweeted on Friday morning that he was “good” and did not get struck by lightning.
“I just texted Drew Brees. He said he’s good and that he did not get struck by lightning,” she tweeted.
“He’s fine,” tweeted NewOrleans.Football’s Nick Underhill, calling the video nothing more than a “spoof” in a follow up tweet.
“Drew Brees is fine. Nothing to worry about with that video floating around this morning,” tweeted Nola.com’s Luke Johnson.
Three people die every year from lightning strikes in Catatumbo
18:45 , Rachel Sharp
Around three people die every year after being struck by lightning in Catatumbo, according to Catatumbo Camp, a lightning tourism company near the lake.
The area is known as the lightning capital of the world with large lightning strikes taking place an average of 297 days a year, the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society finds.
Lightning is so common that many tourists travel to the area to watch it.