Daily fantasy sports site FanDuel announced the acquisition of the sports analytics platform numberFire, as FanDuel’s CEO signaled his designs on expanding beyond the DFS market.
FanDuel + analytics = ?
FanDuel has plans to incorporate into its platform aspects of numberFire — which provides “unprecedented insights that predict player and team performance” via subscriptions and licenses to use its data. The analytics site will also remain a standalone platform. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Access to and availability of sports data and content is clearly one of the recent trends in DFS. FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles said as much in a press release about the acquisition of numberFire.
“numberFire’s demonstrated ability to grow a business around sports data, engage their users, create compelling content and support the fantasy industry makes them an ideal complement to FanDuel. It’s our intention to build a multiplatform sports entertainment company, and joining numberFire and FanDuel creates the opportunity to meaningfully grow both businesses while providing fantasy sports users the best tools around.”
Don’t believe that content and data are a major part of the present and future of DFS? Consider:
- A recent survey indicated that fantasy content is a part of the market that has a lot of upside.
- FanDuel’s move comes just a few weeks after CBS launched a DFS platform alongside a sports analytics platform at SportsLine.com.
- In-game fantasy is becoming a reality with more access to real-time data in sports.
Nik Bonaddio, CEO and Founder of numberFire, also noted in the presser that data and fantasy go hand-in-hand:
“numberFire’s goal has always been to make sports fans smarter, and FanDuel’s mission is to make sports more exciting. The businesses are a cultural fit,” said . “numberFire’s consistent growth is directly correlated to the rise of the daily fantasy industry and uniting our teams will propel the sports analytics and fantasy industry forward.”
Not just fantasy at FanDuel?
Perhaps the most fascinating part of the numberFire acquisition is FanDuel publicly announcing its intention to be more than a DFS site. Eccles talked with the website TechCrunch:
“Our ambitions have really broadened,” Eccles said. “We’ve started to think of ourselves less as a fantasy sports business — we want to make sports more exciting.”
That came in addition to Eccles saying he wanted FanDuel to become a “multiplatform sports entertainment company.”
This could certainly be viewed in several different ways, from FanDuel hedging its bets on the future of DFS, to leveraging its position in the industry, its investment backing and its customer base to become more diversified.
Either way you slice it, FanDuel’s proclamation that it wants to be more than just DFS is intriguing.
Again, divergent from DraftKings
We’ve seen the growth strategies of FanDuel and DraftKings seemingly diverge more than they ever have in the past couple of months.
We’ve seen DraftKings put hundreds of millions of dollars into media deals with ESPN and Fox, and will now expand into the U.K. market.
And while that has been going on, FanDuel has been somewhat more quiet, focusing on building its infrastructure and acquiring talent. Examples of that in recent months include:
- The acquisition of Kotikan, the developer of FanDuel’s mobile app.
- Plans to expand and move its headquarters in Edinburgh.
- Plans to open an office in Glasgow, in Scotland, and hire 200 staff.
- The hiring of about 40 employees from the shuttered Zynga Sports 365 office in Orlando, Florida.
And according to TechCrunch, FanDuel probably isn’t done acquiring properties or manpower:
FanDuel has “moved very quickly from five-to-six years with no acquisitions” to making three deals in a few months, Eccles said, and if there are more opportunities to “add strong teams and nice, solid products,” then he’s open to more deals in the future.
While FanDuel and DraftKings may have appeared to be on parallel tracks before 2015, it’s now pretty clear the two sites have different visions on how they are going to move on in the DFS industry. And we also learned that focusing on DFS alone might not be the endgame for FanDuel.