Fantasy Sports giant Fanduel is expanding its reach through a partnership with Tech firm Simplebet. The two companies aim to build a micromarket sports betting platform that will allow users to wager on quick odds while games are in progress. We can only hope that they'll follow the lead of a welcome bonus casino like Grande Vegas and get new members going with a free bonus.
FanDuel is a company that is known for its Fantasy Sports offerings. It also offers online casino gaming, online horse race betting products and a sportsbook. The sportsbook is only two years old – it opened after the United States Supreme Court opened the way for states to start legislating sports betting in 2018 – but it already operates in a number of states including West Virginia, Indiana, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
FanDuel is a partner of Paddy Power Betfair, the Irish sports betting company. Now, the company has created a second partnership with Simplebet as it explores opportunities to micromarket sports betting.
The deal between Simplebet and FanDuel is a trial one-year agreement. The initial agreement is for FanDuel to launch a free game that offers mock in-play bets for the upcoming 2020 NFL season. Players will be able to wager on quick odds that will be determined during the game – whether the next call will be a running or a passing play or which player will make the next catch. The free game will be featured in the FanDuel sportsbook and app with the goal to convert casual fans into real money bettors.
If the deal extends beyond the first year, as Simplebet hopes, the company will start to offer real bets. According to Simplebet CEO and co-founder Chris Bevilacqua, the agreement with FanDuel is a marketing and distribution deal that will help the company collect fan engagement data and increase its brand awareness so that its “micromarket” betting platform can expand. The technology uses automation and machine learning to generate the mock in-play bet opportunities as they arise throughout a sporting contest.
According to Bevilacqua, “It hasn’t been done before because no one ever made the investment in machine learning and automation that’s required to enable this type of betting…..these are all microbetting opportunities that are very engagement driven. We’re turning what typically used to be a handful of bets and traditional bets, like over-under and outcome-based bets, where you have to watch the whole game, into a series of mini-games throughout a game.”
Bevilacqua said that by putting the free game up on the FanDuel platform, Simplebet plays to analyze ways in which “users are interacting, collect data, be able to see the user data and see how we can refine the product” Media companies and sports leagues are intrigued by Simplebet’s fan engagement data, said Bevilacqua, and how it impacts consumption.
Yahoo founder and San Francisco Giants co-owner Jeff Mallett, Phoenix Coyotes’ former owner Steve Ellman and Philadelphia 76ers co-owner David Blitzer have invested in Simplebet which raised $35 million for their Series A and B rounds to get the project off the ground. Now the company has begun discussing a Series C round.
“There might be more value on the fan engagement piece to media companies initially than there will be revenue for sports betting companies because it’s such a new category of business,” Bevilacqua said. “Micromarkets are brand new, and we think it’s going to grow and accelerate pretty quickly.
“These types of bets are the way people watch the game,” Bevilacqua said. “It lends itself to the way people consume sports — in a casual manner. We think it’s going to be an engaging product.”
By creating betting opportunities that can be facilitated in minutes or even seconds, Simplebet aims to drive fan engagement and sports betting to a new level by creating betting opportunities for every moment of every sporting event. Sportsbook operators and technology platforms will be able to use this technology to open new betting markets and attract new customers while reducing customer acquisition costs and increasing customers’ overall lifetime value.
Bevilacqua said, "We're thrilled to share our innovative technology and products with the sports betting world. In-play betting, and more specifically, Micro-Markets, which are bets tied to discrete moments in sporting events – are the way of the future. This new category of in-play betting following our heavy investment in the requisite automation and machine-learning technology sets Simplebet and our future partners up for success and growth."
Simplebet next intends to launch products for other partners, including for professional leagues. Sara Slane, Founder of Slane Advisory and former Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at the American Gaming Association is investing in Simplebet. "Simplebet is creating the opportunity to accelerate the adoption of sports betting to a broader audience and enhance the way fans consume sports,” Slane said. “Micro-Market betting will convert casual sports fans to sports bettors, while capturing more revenue from existing users."