Mayer: Yahoo “Can And Should Compete” In Daily Fantasy Sports, Will Launch “This Summer”

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Yahoo is the newest company to throw its hat into the daily fantasy sports ring, announcing its intention to go live with a DFS product “this summer,” according to CEO Marissa Mayer.

DFS major interest for “our players and our investors”

The news came out of Yahoo’s earnings call for the first quarter of 2015 and was first reported by Eric Fisher.

CEO Marissa Mayer’s comments on the call, courtesy of Seeking Alpha:

Finally on digital content, let’s turn to sports. For more than 16 years we’ve built the best fantasy sports experiences for our fans. Our users spend nearly 30 billion minutes a year playing fantasy sports on Yahoo!. And nearly all of those experiences have involved traditional season-long fantasy games.

Recently there was a rising trend around daily fantasy games. We believe this is an area where Yahoo! can and should compete. Over the past year, we have been working hard to create our daily fantasy offering, a unique take on this game genre to bolster our leadership in fantasy sports.

Normally we do not announce products before launch but this has been such an area of interest for our fantasy players and our investors that we wanted to announce that we have a new daily fantasy offering in the works that will launch this summer.

Interestingly, Mayer was not asked a single question about DFS during the Q&A session that followed the call.

The news comes as somewhat of a surprise, as earlier this year, Yahoo seemed to be pivoting out of the real-money seasonlong fantasy contest market. But to many, Yahoo’s DFS entry makes sense.

Seasonlong to DFS

Yahoo will provide an interesting test case regarding the viability of transitioning season-long fantasy players to DFS.

According to data from Adam KrejcikManaging Director of Digital & Interactive Gaming at Eilers Research, there are nearly 41 million seasonlong fantasy sports players.

But DFS has little penetration in that market, at about 2.5 percent of all fantasy sports play.

In addition to its seasonlong pedigree, Yahoo has some distinct advantages over its competitors, despite getting a late start:

What the industry thinks

Interestingly, the Yahoo news broke about an hour before a panel on the daily fantasy sports industry at the Global Interactive Gaming Summit and Expo (GIGse). The panel included Jason Robins, CEO of DraftKings, and Seth Young, COO of Star Fantasy Leagues, and they weighed in on Yahoo’s entry:

The impact of Yahoo’s entrance into DFS

The Yahoo news could have wide-ranging ramifications for the DFS industry: