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Editor’s Note: This is part two in a series on which daily fantasy sports site is No. 3 in the market right now. See our overview of the leading competitors behind FanDuel and DraftKings here.
Recently, FantasyAces made its intention to claim the No. 3 spot in the DFS space known. FantasyAces announced a new partnership with DFS media company Fantasy Alarm, but it was a number used in that press release that signaled its plans on separating itself from the pack:
FantasyAces expects to pay out more than $30,000,000 in prize money to contest winners in 2015, and the site has experienced explosive growth in key performance indicators such as customer acquisition, conversion rates, lifetime value per depositor and player retention.
That sounds like bold prediction to many in the DFS industry. FantasyAces co-founder Bryan Frisina told Legal Sports Report that the $30mm figure is included in his site’s cash-flow projections for this year, and it’s not just a pie-in-the-sky number. Even after last week’s news that Yahoo would be entering the DFS market, that number is not being revised back by Frisina.
So how likely is that to occur? Adam Krejcik, Managing Director of Digital & Interactive Gaming at Eilers Research, said FantasyAces is trending upwards, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility for the site to hit the $30 million mark. So where did FantasyAces increased marketshare and optimism come from?
“We’re seeing year-over-year growth, anything from game entries to deposits to sign-ups, anything of those statistical measures … you’re looking at anywhere from 10x to 35x,” Frisina said.
Frisina said that growth of the site — which was founded in 2012 and launched contests early in 2013 — is attributable to several key areas, as well as a lot of hard work between him and his brother and co-founder Trent.
“We’ve built a really reputable brand and company that is well-known and respected in the industry, and also established some very key relationships with the likes of RotoExperts, RotoWire, the exclusive deal as you saw with FantasyAlarm, and also the powerhouse of RotoGrinders,” Frisinia said. “When we started out on RotoGrinders, we were positioned down there around (No.) 10, gradually we’re right at there at No. 3 on their rankings.”
Frisinia also credits his site’s customer service. That comes in everything from interacting directly with fantasy players to making its contests — from roster structure to salary cap values — as dialed in and player-friendly as possible.
“It’s one thing to get the money, and throw up a site with a low barrier to entry and say ‘we’re this and that and the other,’ but you know it’s the player loyalty, which comes from customer service and the personal touch we put on our product,” Frisina said. “If [a FantasyAces player] calls, I’ll pick up the phone, Trent will pick up the phone … and we’ll talk to somebody.”
Krejcik said he agrees with Frisina’s take.
“I think player retention and loyalty have been big for them,” Krejcik said. “They seem to get very good player reviews and feedback from some of the grinders in the industry, so I think the underlying technology and platform is solid.”
One of the ways FantasyAces has been able to separate itself from the crowd is through putting on live finals — where players qualify online to compete in a live fantasy contest with a big prize pool. The site is fresh off hosting the $100,000 FantasyAces Basketball Championship earlier this month, with a top prize of $40,000.
There is perhaps no better sign of FantasyAces’ climb than its recent announcement of its World Baseball Championship, with a quarter of a million dollars guaranteed. It will be held in August at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., with 20 qualifiers competing at the ballpark’s Halo Club for a $100,000 top prize.
And, obviously, FA will plan on a live final for the NFL season, as well, which is poised to be even bigger than those two live contests.
Frisina wasn’t ready to give out exact figures for guaranteed prize pools that FA will offer this fall during the NFL season. But he isn’t chalking up all of FA’s big projection to just football. After all, FantasyAces saw a big spike in its numbers last year after fantasy football ended.
“Obviously, the NFL, that’s where your’e going to get the meat and potatoes of that $30 million that we touched upon, it’s going to come from those months,” Frisina said. “I’ll be honest with you, we’re expecting some really big numbers with our MLB product, especially since our user base has almost tripled since last April.”
Frisina also said contests for golf and college basketball are on the way.
Will FantasyAces hit $30 million in prizes this year and separate itself from the pack? We’ll have to wait and see.