“This Week In Daily” is LegalSportsReport’s weekly wrap of key facts, happenings and miscellany from the daily fantasy sports industry.
Stories of note
ESPN personality calls DFS gambling
ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt has never been one to pull punches with his opinion. And he is never shy about talking about sports betting.
That didn’t make it any less shocking to see him on the 11 p.m. edition of SportsCenter on Thursday night saying — in no uncertain terms — that daily fantasy sports is gambling. On ESPN. The same ESPN that is getting a lot of money from DraftKings to show its ads and integrate it into its content.
Van Pelt noted that he’s a big fan of daily fantasy sports, but couched that by saying “What I am opposed to is the charade that pretends it’s something it’s not,” referring to the industry’s insistence on saying it’s not gambling. More from Awful Announcing here.
Van Pelt’s comments also came on the heels of Colin Cowherd — a former ESPN radio host now working for Fox Sports — basically saying DFS is gambling as well.
Daily fantasy eSports: That escalated quickly
This week, DraftKings put its first eSports contests in the lobby and signed deals with six eSports organizations. Not to be outdone, FanDuel acquired one of the two daily fantasy eSports sites that was already on the market — AlphaDraft.
That leaves a third site, Vulcun, to duke it out with the DFS duopoly.
So, the two biggest operators in DFS are now going to square off in the eSports realm, and they are taking different routes to get there. Whose strategy will work? If you want to learn more about the fantasy eSports market, check out this summary.
College sports vs. DFS
It was a weird week for college sports and its relationship with DFS.
It all started with some comments made by Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott last weekend. He said that he and the commissioners of the other four power conferences asked DraftKings and FanDuel to stop doing DFS contests based on college football. He also said the Pac-12 Network would stop showing ads.
After that, things got messy. First, the Pac-12 basically said “just kidding, we’re still accepting DFS ads, as long as they don’t promote college DFS.” The SEC, though, apparently took a stand, requesting DFS ads be removed from the SEC Network.
Also this week, NCAA executive Oliver Luck said that any college player caught playing DFS for college sports would lose a year of eligibility. ESPN breaks down the whole situation with colleges and the industry here. Clearly, the NCAA and its member conferences have a problem with DFS. The endgame, though, isn’t quite so clear.
Of the week
Read of the week
Just how many DraftKings and FanDuel ads are there on an NFL Sunday? Amazingly, someone at Awful Announcing actually watched them all. Also, DraftKings basically has an infomercial before the games start on ESPN. Anyway, if you’re interested to see how many commercials these sites are buying, read on.
Watches of the week
Finally, a DFS parody ad. Pretty funny:
Pro Al Zeidenfeld drops some DFS knowledge on SportsCenter:
Tweets of the week
All the DFS stat nerds are talking about how nerdy it is to play LoL DFS. The needle on my irony meter spun around 3 times then snapped off. — Seth Yates (@SethayatesDFS) September 23, 2015
Well it took two weeks but complaining about DFS commercials is now officially more annoying than the DFS commercials are themselves. — Ben Carsley (@BenCarsley) September 20, 2015
Number of the week
DraftKings CEO Jason Robins checked in at No. 8 in Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list, and made the cover:
In case you missed it
- The NFL keeps saying it’s not very involved with DFS, when it really is.
- A couple of U.S. senators make comments that add to the possiblity that we’re going to see a Congressional hearing about DFS.
- After a good first week of the NFL season by DraftKings, FanDuel had the superior second week.
- DraftOps signs a deal with TD Garden in Boston.
- A look at Week 3 of the DFS commercial wars.
- Hawaii could be taking a look at DFS legislation.