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Live streaming in the DFS industry isn’t widespread (RotoGrinders does have Grinders Live on YouTube), especially at Twitch. Clearly, FanDuel’s entrance signals that that is about to change. At the start, FanDuel’s Twitch channel will consist of one 60-minute program, called the #DFSHour:
Twitch has seen the breadth of its scope expand in recent months. Once a site solely for streaming video games and eSports like League of Legends and Counterstrike, it has expanded its focus to other possibilities for live streaming, most notably online poker.
It was someone from the online poker world that brokered the deal with FanDuel — Dustin Iannotti. In addition to a variety of roles in the poker space over the years, he has worked with poker pro Jason Somerville on creating video and streaming content. Somerville is now sponsored by the online poker site PokerStars because of his live streaming efforts; he is currently the most viewed online poker live streamer on Twitch.
Based on his experience in poker, Iannotti created a consulting group looking at new opportunities on Twitch.
“I started to think to myself… it seemed to make sense that the DFS space could conceivably be the next route to go,” Iannotti told Legal Sports Report. “Because DFS is very similar to poker in terms of strategy.”
Iannotti said has been pitching the idea since February to anyone who will listen, and that included many interested parties in the DFS industry. Iannotti said FanDuel was “quick to the punch” and “fully embraced” the idea of a Twitch presence. The deal got done several weeks ago, according to Iannotti, and he has been working with FanDuel to prep the show for today’s premiere ever since.
“Everyone involved believes in growing the (DFS live streaming) category,” Iannotti said. “And I think FanDuel being brave enough to be the early mover in the space is going to yield them some positive results.”
The parallels between online poker and DFS have always been in present in the industry — from DraftKings’ marketing efforts to poker players, to the aforementioned PokerStars planning to enter the DFS industry later this year.
Much like the relationship between Twitch and poker, Iannotti said he believes Twitch can educate beginner and recreational DFS players, and it could get new players to give DFS a try. The ability for users to watch a live stream and interact with it in real time is the strength of Twitch as a medium, and why it could work in DFS.
“For me, there are a lot of people that play DFS that don’t necessarily have the skills to maintain a bankroll for a long period of time, which was kind of a struggle with (online) poker at the beginning.” Iannotti said. “So the idea behind this was using the chat interaction ability, which seems to be a great learning tool for anything, be it poker, video games or otherwise. It seemed to make the most sense to translate it to DFS.”
“The chat is really the bread and butter of why I think the show could take off,” Iannotti continued. “Because it’s the ability for people to say, to say ‘You know what, I don’t understand what a 50/50 is’ or ‘I don’t understand what type of a bankroll to start with.’ ”
Clearly, there’s an opportunity for a DFS presence to grow beyond a sponsored channel from FanDuel. In online poker, players of all ability levels live stream and watch live streams, because of Twitch’s social interactive nature and the ability to get immediate feedback.
DFS pros could theoretically start their own Twitch channels to talk strategy, much like online poker pros do. Recreational players could stream as they set their lineups each day, and use it as a way to “crowdsource” advice. The idea of live streaming and daily fantasy sports is not even a day old — at least in the public consciousness — but clearly there are routes for it to take off.
Thinking even further down the road, daily fantasy sports for eSports has taken off in 2015. (The industry leader, Vulcun, recently got a $12 million round of funding). Twitch was made for video gamers. Is it a stretch to think we’ll see live streaming content to talk about DFS for eSports?
Before the industry gets too far ahead of itself, today is the start of the Twitch and DFS experiment.
Tune in starting at 2:30 p.m. Pacific, and the industry will start finding out together on Twitch.