“This Week In Daily” is ODFReport’s weekly wrap of key facts, happenings and miscellany from the daily fantasy sports industry.
Stories of note
More fantasy for MLB?
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has been looking to shake things up almost immediately after taking over for Bud Selig. First, he has thrown out the possibility of a number of rules changes for the game that have upset a lot of purists.
But now he is also apparently looking to move forward on the fantasy sports front. While baseball was the original “fantasy” sport (back when it was called “rotisserie baseball” in the 1980s), MLB has lagged behind other sports in embracing real-money fantasy sports, daily or otherwise.
That appears to be changing, as Manfred said he would like to see baseball and fantasy sports sites have more integration. That could be a blessing for DraftKings, which already has relationship with baseball, running a free game at MLB.com. No matter who MLB partners up with moving forward, it’s sure to have a positive impact on the growth of DFS.
Iowa, Washington tackle fantasy
Two of the states where daily fantasy sports don’t currently operate have legislation that saw some movement this week.
The news in Iowa was of the positive variety, as a bill to allow fantasy sports in the state moved out of committee and appears to have a good deal of momentum.
The news in Washington wasn’t nearly as good, as lawmakers questioned whether fantasy sports is actually gambling, and whether there should be a distinction between seasonlong fantasy and DFS.
DFS sites clearly would like to see the no-nonsense approach to fantasy sports in Iowa continue. But if other states start viewing DFS like Washington is threatening to do, the results could be disastrous.
More sponsorship dominoes fall
Sponsorship deals between professional sports franchises and fantasy sports sites have been coming at an increasing rate in recent weeks. This week, DraftKings inked partnerships with the Sacramento Kings, the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA.
By our count, that’s seven DFS sponsorship deals with major North American sports teams in 2015 alone. We’re guessing it’s safe to say DraftKings and FanDuel are working behind the scenes to get more deals done, based on the recent trend.
Of the week
Read(s) of the week
ESPN The Magazine did a sitdown with Silver, who is easily the most progressive leader of any of the North American sports organization.
The story is entirely about sports betting — Silver talks about the fact that it is a big part of sports, and that leagues like the NBA should be attempting to embrace, monitor and legalize sports wagering, instead of simply accepting that it happens. That includes daily fantasy sports, and the NBA’s deal with FanDuel from November. Silver also acknowledges that sports betting and DFS are a part of why sports in general and the NBA in particular have seen a rise in popularity.
The story on Silver came a few days before ESPN also reported that new Major League Commissioner Rob Manfred echoed Silver’s sentiments about legalized sports betting. Progressive thinking from Silver and Manfred is certainly good news for the future of DFS.
Inc.com writes what has been apparent for some time — that FanDuel is going to become the leader in the fantasy sports market, passing Yahoo and ESPN.
It also points out the problem that DFS sites not named FanDuel have in try to penetrate the market. From CEO Nigel Eccles: “It’s a chicken-and-egg problem: You need the player pool to guarantee the prizes, but if you don’t have the prizes, you can’t get the player pool. That’s what you find in this market. It’s very easy to launch but very hard to scale.”
Tweet of the week
Help make fantasy sports legal in Iowa, Washington, Louisiana, Montana and Arizona. Contact your legislators at http://t.co/6LZ6ShAEy0
— FSTA (@FantasySportsTA) February 6, 2015
Quote of the week
“The league and many of our teams are actively engaged in the so-called daily fantasy business. And while I wouldn’t categorize that as sports betting, on the continuum of no betting at all and legalized betting, it’s certainly on the spectrum.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, from ESPN the Magazine.
Number of the week
The amount of growth experienced by FanDuel and DraftKings combined for users of their sites via mobile devices, according to a report from Nielsen Media Research. The number of unique mobile users was over 3.02 million in 2014, up from just over 319,000 in 2013.