How’d they do? The two daily fantasy sports sites combined to take nearly $13 million in entry fees that generated just under $2 million in revenue, according to a sampling of the publicly viewable contests at the two DFS operators. The lion’s share of both figures went to DraftKings.
DraftKings, FanDuel and single-game contests
Sunday’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots was the first time either company let users pick players just from the Super Bowl for a daily fantasy football contest.
DraftKings had done contests based on both the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl before, but never just one. The reasons for avoiding single-game contests generally had to do with meeting the stipulations regarding paid-entry fantasy contests in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. But new state-level fantasy sports laws around the US appear to allow for single-game contests.
DraftKings had rolled out its new contest format — Showdown — for the playoffs and had contests running throughout the postseason (including contests just for the Pro Bowl). FanDuel’s offering came out later.
What went down on Sunday
The two sites generated a great deal of interest for the new offerings.
The guaranteed prize pools for the two biggest Super Bowl-contests at both DraftKings ($2.4 million) and FanDuel ($2 million) were roughly in line with what they would would guarantee during the regular season. The total amount of entry fees, however, fell well short of what the sites would see on a normal NFL weekend, not surprisingly.
DraftKings saw about $8.2 million in entry fees in the sample examined by Legal Sports Report, with the site holding about $1 million of that in revenue. The figures at FanDuel were $4.7 million in handle and $700K in revenue.
How’s that compare to sports betting?
The DFS performance on the Super Bowl comes as we also learned the amount of wagered on the Big Game in Nevada sports betting.
Total handle on the Super Bowl at Nevada sportsbooks: $159 million. Total revenue? $1.6 million.
The revenue side of things points certainly paints a rosy picture for DFS. Sportsbooks held less than one percent of all money wagered; on average, books hold around five percent. The two biggest DFS operators generated almost as much revenue as Nevada books did on far less handle.
Therein lies the rub, however. DFS is a nationwide product in more than 40 states, Canada and some European countries (for DraftKings). Nevada, meanwhile, is just a small state with an influx of people coming just to watch and bet on the Super Bowl. The amount of money flowing through the Nevada sportsbooks was more than 10x DFS handle for the US and beyond.
While you can call the contests successful, I’d say classifying them as a “new hit” is going too far. (Also, all FanDuel and DraftKings have done is boiled down DFS to a single game, an obvious evolution if ever there was one.)
If anything, the contests point out the large gap in opportunity between a future legal sports betting market in the US and DFS. And it’s probably why we’re again hearing chatter from DraftKings that it wants to get into the sports betting business.