Daily fantasy sports companies move on as separate entities, with plans ahead of fantasy football
Legal Sports Report

DraftKings CEO Talks Future After Abandoned FanDuel Merger; Will Feature Simpler NFL Contests This Fall

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins
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DraftKings CEO Jason Robins talked about the future of his company during a Facebook Live session, after the merger with FanDuel was scuttled last week.

Among the revelations was that DraftKings will offer a simplified version of its daily fantasy football contests for the NFL season, alongside its normal offerings.

Post merger breakup, it’s every DFS site for itself

DraftKings and FanDuel just announced last week that they would not be fighting the federal government in court in an attempt to merge. The Federal Trade Commission had moved to block the tie-up on ant-trust grounds.

The end result: The sites have to move on as separate companies. Robins talking about some of DraftKings’ plans is a signal that the Boston-based daily fantasy sports company is moving on.

This NFL season will be key for both, the most crucial period from a revenue and user acquisition standpoint since the 2015 NFL season.

DraftKings Arcade Mode for NFL?

Robins spoke to users via Facebook Live on Tuesday. Among the news he talked about was a game more focused on casual players.

It will apparently will be sort of like Arcade Mode, which DraftKings rolled out for Major League Baseball season. Arcade contests involve smaller rosters of players and higher scoring, offering a game that is focused on attracting recreational players.

Here is part of what he said:

“I’ve heard a lot of really great feedback about Arcade Mode, and looking at the numbers lots of people are playing it, which is great. Definitely a more casual game, that I think if you don’t have as much time, or you just want something that’s a bit higher-scoring, it’s great for those types of players.

So each sport is different, and we are going to have something like that, a different sort of game for NFL. It may not be the same exact format, because every fantasy sport is a bit different. and we want to do something that’s really built for NFL, and makes sense for the NFL product. But we will definitely have something like that and will be announcing that very soon with some of our other product announcements.

FanDuel told LSR that it was working on something like its Mixup contests for NFL.

Iterating the DFS product continues

The standard salary-cap format remains the bread and butter for DraftKings and FanDuel, led by their guaranteed prize pool contests.

But finding a way to engage an retain more casual players remains a core concern of the DFS industry. Where once there were upwards of a dozen companies employing the salary-cap model, the field is now basically down to just four major players in the space, including Yahoo DFS and FantasyDraft.

That leaves companies to try to find other ways to leverage the DFS concept. One of those rolled out in New Jersey this week, a form of parlay betting on players’ performances.

Other nuggets from the Robins chat

  • Robins hinted that there would likely be a top prize of a million dollars — a “Millionaire Maker” — in contests throughout the NFL season. More free games with prizes are likely on the way, as well, via sponsored contests.
  • DFS for college sports won’t be returning, as the company has helped to pass laws in a number of states that ban such contests.
  • Other products and more sports are on the way, including plans for boxing and tennis. Among the new sports that are definitively on the way is EuroLeague basketball.
  • DraftKings plans to be in more countries before the end of the year. Currently, DraftKings serves the US, Canada, the UK, Germany and Malta.

You can watch the full session with Robins here:

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.

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