Daily fantasy sports has never really ventured seriously into the realm of tennis. Until now.
DraftKings announced that it would be offering daily fantasy tennis for this year’s Wimbledon, which gets underway with the main draw on Monday.
“We have always prioritized offering the most compelling games across the widest array of sports,” said Mark Nerenberg, DraftKings’ Vice President of Game Operations and Development. “By expanding into tennis, we have an opportunity to provide a new and engaging experience for our current customer base while broadening our reach to attract tennis fans, globally. Over 25 million people in the U.S. alone tuned into watch Wimbledon last year, and we want to be a part of that.”
Contests will spawn in the DraftKings lobby later today.
Tennis, a new frontier
Tennis has been a difficult nut to crack for daily fantasy companies because of the nature of tournaments. A major tennis tournament lasts two weeks, and players advance in a knockout fashion.
But with the evolution of DFS has come a solution: contests based on a single day or round of tennis play. The model is already in place for golf, where DFS companies offer single-round daily fantasy golf contests. (Golf tournaments usually consist of four rounds.)
DraftKings and FanDuel have already boiled down DFS in other sports to single games. You can now enter DFS contests based on single NFL, NBA or Major League Baseball games, among other sports.
FanDuel does not offer tennis, currently.
DraftKings has consistently gone into niche verticals, including esports (League of Legends) and the Canadian Football League, for example. But tennis has the chance to be a fairly major offering, if the format catches on.
How fantasy tennis works
Tennis works much like other daily fantasy sports, where you pick a roster of players (six) under a salary cap. Every player has an artificial “salary” attached; the best players will usually have the highest salaries. Both men’s and women’s players are available for selection.
Tennis is a sport filled with statistics, and DraftKings is using those to create its contests. There is a scoring bonus for women’s matches, which are the best of three sets, while men’s matches can last five sets.
There are also a variety of bonuses available for certain player achievements, like winning a match in straight sets.