Online casino daily fantasy sports providers are providing imaginative solutions and promotions to ensure that veteran DFS enthusiasts as well as new competitors can continue to compete in fantasy sports contests.
Both FanDuel and DraftKings, two of America’s biggest fantasy sport providers, have renewed their efforts to bring new players to their sites. The moves come after months of stagnation when both customers and the companies themselves seemed unsure as to how they would move forward during sports coronavirus shutdowns. But the companies seem to have regained their confidence and believe that they can offer players the same level of competitive action – with some changes.
DraftKings has begun to give free entry to those who join the company’s daily fantasy sports contests while FanDuel announced that customers who play on its daily fantasy sports site will receive a “welcome back gift” credit. Analysts believe that much of the movement is due to the aggressiveness of new operators such as SuperDraft and the heightened presence of older operators such as Yahoo Sports. These competitors are promoting new introductory offers and growing their product offerings which is pushing the old-timers FanDuel and DraftKings to up their game.
DFS operators haven’t seriously competed for new customers since 2014 when DraftKings acquired DraftStreet. That shifted competition in the DFS market to two major players – DraftKings and FanDuel. Since fewer companies were operating in the marketplace, parallel pricing emerged and with less real competition to recruit contest entrants, the competition died. For the last 6 years, there hasn’t been much competition so neither FanDuel nor DraftKings saw much reason to offer incentives to either new or existing players.
What has changed in the past several months is that, in a number of states, regulators of interactive daily fantasy sports have begun to license companies. SuperDraft and Monkey Knife Fight (similar to DFS but not identical) are investing funds in advertising their games on fantasy sports websites such as Rotowire. And finally, Yahoo has grown its presence significantly and is now a serious competitor.
As a result, FanDuel and DraftKings find themselves in a situation in which they have to actively promote their businesses in order to retain their market share. That means that consumers can look forward to different types of credits and bonuses and the new competitors will need to demonstrate innovation in promotions and through other game innovations.
All this comes at a time for unparalleled growth for the global fantasy sports market. Estimates are that the industry will register a CAGR of 5% for the 2020-2025 forecast period. The growth is spurred by popularity of players in various sports, the launch of fantasy sports applications and growing investment in internet infrastructure. These elements offer immense growth opportunities to the market.
Another element that is impacting on the sector is the emergence of 5G technology. 5G is expected to account for 12% of the total wireless infrastructure revenue of communications service providers in 2020 and will motivate operators to capitalize on the opportunity to provide cost-effective and fast service. Predictions are that 5G will enhance the performance 100x to provide better user experience and drive the fantasy sports market.
One of the fastest-growing markets for DFS is in India where fantasy sports playing is growing quickly. Most Indian DFS players prefer to compete at cricket and many big brands, league tournaments (like ICL, IPL etc.) and celebrities have entered the market. Dream11, which is India's biggest fantasy sports company has developed a cricket application so that users can join contests for all of the different formats of international cricket.
Cricket DFS players create their own cricket teams and go on to earn points and other types of rewards based on the performance of actual players. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the brand ambassador for Dream11, says that as internet accessibility grows and more people in India become smartphone owners, the fantasy sports market will grow even more.
Dhoni believes that, thanks to the growing variety of sporting events around the world and increased technical developments in fantasy sports platforms will inspire more users to participant and keep the market moving in an upward trajectory.
How does COVID-19 affect the fantasy sports market?
Some sports including Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association have resumed training and, in some cases, games. But some players have already tested positive for Covid-19 so the question of the day is, how can the leagues keep sporting events running during the pandemic? This issue is causing concern for real-world and fantasy sports alike.
Health-related challenges facing real-world sports are serious. The issues that face the commercial fantasy sports industry relate primarily to the question of how to determine contest winners, allocate rights and allocate economic duties.
Observers believe that fantasy sports operators will need to focus on how to handle league payouts if any of the restarted real-world sports fail to complete their 2020 seasons due to a Covid-19 outbreak among players. In particular, should fantasy sports owners receive payouts based where the fantasy league standings are when the season is halted? Should all entry fees be refunded? This presents a problem for regular-season baseball leagues as well as for playoff-format hockey and basketball leagues. These leagues are not as popular as football leagues for DFS players, but their popularity is growing and DFS operators are taking these questions into serious consideration.
Operators are also debating about what to do if some, but not all, teams in a league must stop. Finding an answer to this question became more urgent after the Miami Marlins recently tested their players and found that at least 11 tested positive for COVID-19. Operators must clearly articulate their policies on how they will pay out winnings if some teams are forced to cut short their season.
Finally, fantasy sports operators are facing a headache regarding who will bear the financial risk between statistical providers and operators if a season must be halted. Most statistical providers have contracts that include language relating to seasons that never happen because of a “force of God” or a strike. What happens in case of a pandemic? Is that a force of God? How is the diminution in value if a league reduces its number of active teams calculated? If the statistical provider accumulates and disseminates statistics based on fewer real-world teams, does the original contract still apply?
These are all questions that no one would have considered even half a year ago. Now, fantasy sports operators must review their terms, conditions, rules and third-party contracts as they try to restart their operations, attract new players, re-engage old competitors and move forward into the future.