Revenue From NBA DFS Only Trails NFL By About Half A Million Dollars At FanDuel
Legal Sports Report

New Daily Fantasy Sports Metrics Show NBA Catching Up With NFL At FanDuel

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A week of daily fantasy NBA is getting closer to being as big as a single Sunday of NFL contests, at least for one daily fantasy sports operator.

NBA DFS at FanDuel

A report on the NBA at major DFS operators revealed that the difference between a week of NBA contests and NFL contests at FanDuel is starting to become almost indistinguishable, according to DFS analytics site SuperLobby.com.

For the period of Nov. 25 through Dec. 1, FanDuel generated $17.6 million in entry fees and $1.7 million in revenue on all its NBA contests — both guaranteed prize pool (GPP) contests and non-guaranteed contests (or “cash games”) — by SuperLobby’s numbers.

By way of comparison, FanDuel’s NFL contests that started on Nov. 29 generated $21.9 million in entry fees and $2.2 million in revenue. That means revenue created by the two sports at FanDuel was only separated by about half a million dollars.

Of course, not all daily fantasy NFL contests start on Sunday — more than a million is guaranteed at FanDuel for contests that start today — but a vast majority of them do.

NBA DFS at DraftKings

SuperLobby only tracks metrics for DraftKings’ GPPs, but the numbers for those showed a bigger gap between NBA and NFL contests.

DraftKings had $12 million in entry fees for NBA contests (GPP only) and $1.3 million in revenue over the same time period. For last Sunday in the NFL, DraftKings generated $18.9 million in entry fees (GPP only), and $1.9 million in revenue.

Much like what is being experienced for NFL contests, NBA entry fees were down week over week at major DFS sites, however.

DFS becoming less NFL dependent?

Obviously, football is extremely important to the bottom line for the DFS industry. The NFL has long been considered the cash cow for DFS, but it’s clear that interest in other daily fantasy sports, and especially the NBA, is growing.

The frequency of pro basketball games — you can play NBA DFS every night — trumps the fewer start days that the NFL offers. But it’s hard to ignore that NBA weekly revenues are creeping up on NFL revenue.

It’s also likely that FanDuel is experiencing a bump to its NBA offerings as the official daily fantasy partner of the NBA, a deal it signed a year ago. FanDuel also outpaces DraftKings in terms of deals with specific NBA teams.

Who is No. 1 in DFS these days?

It’s difficult to gauge exactly who is No. 1 between DraftKings and FanDuel, right now; SuperLobby’s metrics give an apples to oranges comparison, using all entry fees for FanDuel, while using GPP data only at DraftKings.

DraftKings, at least for the NFL, is clearly in the lead in terms of guaranteed prize pools offered, but there’s no visibility into its cash-game traffic. The NBA figures likely show that FanDuel is generating more revenue than DraftKings for the NBA. But DraftKings offers contests for other sports — golf, mixed martial arts, NASCAR and soccer — that FanDuel does not.

There’s also the added complication that DraftKings still serves the New York market during the ongoing court battle, while FanDuel does not.

DraftKings appeared to take over the No. 1 position over the summer and likely through the start of the NFL season, and has held onto that spot in Legal Sports Report’s Site Standings for the entire fall. A recent report from Eilers Research — issued before FanDuel left New York — indicated that it believed FanDuel was “once again the largest DFS operator worldwide” based on cash-game traffic, marketing and its NBA position.

A few weeks later, and the edge in revenue and total entry fees likely goes to DraftKings right now — especially as it continues to benefit from taking New York customers. Take New York out of the equation, though, and the answer is far from clear cut, at least during this snapshot in time.

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Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.