[toc]Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is becoming even more involved in the fantasy sports world, as analytics platform Fantasy Labs announced the billionaire had invested in the company.
Terms of the deal with Fantasy Labs — which provides daily fantasy sports data, tools and analytics — were not disclosed.
Cuban, Fantasy Labs and eSports
The decision by Cuban to invest in Fantasy Labs — a company launched by DFS pros Peter Jennings and Jonathan Bales in 2015 — appears to be tied in large part to the future integration of eSports in its product. Cuban has been high on the growing sector, including the fact that he was part of a funding round for eSports betting site Unikrn.
Cuban had this to say in a press release from Fantasy Labs:
“The explosive growth of fantasy sports, and its involvement with new categories of competition like eSports, increase the need for high-end resources like the platform offered by Fantasy Labs. I’m excited to be involved with a company that is working to advance an industry that is poised for huge growth.”
Jennings offered this in the release:
“We are pleased to have the support of a visionary investor like Mr. Cuban, and are grateful for his support in our goal of creating an environment where fans can easily access and leverage sports analytics for actionable purposes. We’re especially excited for how Mr. Cuban’s influence on our organizational development will enable us to expand our analytics offerings into new areas like eSports games, as well as continuing to optimize our core competencies.”
Cuban high on fantasy sports?
Cuban’s investment is the latest indication he is still high on the DFS sector.
In an interview with Fortune, he remained optimistic on the industry, despite recent legal and regulatory issues that have come up in a number of states. From Fortune:
Q: How have you seen fantasy sports impact the NBA?
A: It has made watching our games on TV more fun. Hopefully, the stupidity and hypocrisy in a few states will be cleared up in the courts shortly.
The comments, and the Fantasy Labs investment, come less than two weeks before Cuban is set to deliver the keynote address at the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Winter Conference.
The current market for fantasy eSports
The fantasy eSports market took a hit this week when pioneering company Vulcun indicated it would no longer offer fantasy contests with real-money entry fees. In announcing the move, Vulcun indicated it was concerned about the uncertain legal environment for DFS, and was going to pivot to emphasize its other offerings.
DraftKings launched fantasy eSports for League of Legends last year; Fantasy Labs co-founders Jennings and Bales are both DraftKings analysts. FanDuel purchased fantasy eSports platform AlphaDraft last year, as well.
The industry of eSports betting — generally taking place in regulated markets outside of the U.S. — is still a growing segment of the eSports and betting markets.