If you’ve spent any time around daily fantasy sports, you may have a sense of how demanding the community can be.
The players who put in the most volume are sharp about their industry, and they hold operators to the highest of standards. DraftKings and FanDuel are massive organizations, after all, and they’re rightly expected to do right by their customers.
High-volume players tend to have the largest audiences for criticism, too. If a DFS site makes a change that negatively affects the one percent, expect to read about it on Twitter. The line between constructive and critical is sometimes blurred when the most vocal members of the community press their wishes.
It seems fair, then, to highlight a couple recent cases in which operators are getting it right.
The two industry leaders have each initiated changes that seem broadly favorable to the majority of their customers. Even Yahoo DFS is getting some well-deserved credit for a recent innovation.
Revamped FanDuel Players Club
Today’s FanDuel news center around changes to its loyalty program.
Like the competition, FanDuel rewards customers for their play via frequent player points. FanDuel Points are accrued at a base rate of five points per $1 in entries, and they can be used to enter any paid contest. On the redemption side, users need 2,400 points to cover each dollar of an entry fee.
Players who meet a minimum threshold earn membership in the FanDuel Players Club, which offers freerolls based on tier level. Previously, users needed to play through $100 in monthly entries for inclusion.
The Players Club is getting an overhaul, though. Changes announced today include more tiers, a shorter barrier to entry, and updated freeroll offerings. Now, just $10 in monthly entries is enough for membership at the lowest level. The top tier, incidentally, requires $500,000 in monthly entries to achieve.
“Our goal with the Rewards Center is to ensure all of our users of all levels are getting the most out of their activity on FanDuel,” said Nik Bonaddio, Head of Product for FanDuel. “We want every user to have a clear understanding of the rewards available to them — from FDP to FanDuel swag — and how they can achieve the next level of play.”
FanDuel has added a “Rewards” section to the cashier so that players can track their progress.
DraftKings creates Community team
Two weeks ago, this post appeared on the popular DFS forums at RotoGrinders:
That post was a welcome sight itself, working to counter the perception that customers don’t have a voice.
Five days later, the new team started a thread entitled “DraftKings Community: what would you like to know?” The original post contained some of the same content as the previous, but this one formally asked players for input.
The thread has over 200 comments at the time of writing, with the DraftKings_CM account still engaging in the discussion. Suggestions run the gamut, from rake and gauranteed prize pool entry limits to addressing the issue of lineup sellers.
Co-founder Matt Kalish said the outreach will help DraftKings “listen and engage” with customers:
For the last six years, we’ve benefitted greatly from the input and oftentimes frank feedback from our players. As DraftKings continues to grow and expand into new areas, we wanted to make sure our connection to players remains strong and productive. The Community team is there to make sure all of us at DraftKings are always putting players at the center of everything we do.
Give them credit for both listening to input and acting on it.
Last week, the Community team rolled out a flatter 2x payout structure for additional contests based on forum feedback. Reaction was almost universally positive, earning DraftKings good will without having to do much apart from listen. Changing the payout chart doesn’t directly affect its bottom line, though flatter structures may be slightly less marketable.
A spokesperson also told Legal Sports Report that DraftKings plans to create a players’ panel for additional input as early as this summer.
Yahoo QuickMatch catches on
Not to be overlooked, Yahoo has also made a favorable tweak to its DFS platform.
Earlier this year, the site launched its QuickMatch tool for head-to-head (H2H) contests. The automated system automatically matches players based on their level of experience and perceived skill on the site.
The idea is to protect the bankrolls of recreational players, who are sometimes preyed upon by professionals. Now, a first-time player will almost never be pitted against someone who plays DFS for a living.
It was a wise move; Yahoo badly needed to generate some sort of fresh interest. And it seems to be working, too. Dan Haight, who oversees operations, told LSR that the reaction has been exactly as warm as he’d hoped.
Since launching QuickMatch on Yahoo Sports Daily Fantasy, we’ve seen tremendous adoption of the feature. It’s still early, but our users have been playing in more QuickMatch games than traditional H2H matchups, and we only expect that to grow when we launch on our mobile apps in a future update.
The idea is so good that other operators may adopt it going forward.
As part of the DraftKings Community thread, several forum dwellers mentioned QuickMatch as a feature they’d like to become more widespread.
Most sites do have some sort of tiered badging system to help separate players visually. So far, though, Yahoo DFS is the only site incorporating those tiers into the game-selection mechanism.