Can PokerNews.com Parent Company Shuffle Things Up in Daily Fantasy Sports Media?

Posted on March 26, 2015 - Last Updated on April 7, 2015

The parent company of PokerNews.com, iBus Media, recently announced the acquisition of FantasyWired, a portal for daily fantasy sports content. Will the poker media giant be able to make an impact on the DFS media landscape?

Entering the market

The entire daily fantasy sports industry is still young and growing — and that includes ancillary markets like DFS portals and news sites. There are a variety of options out there for players looking for news, reviews, strategy and other DFS content. Some of the sites provide stellar content, while others are just offering clickbait that isn’t going to help anyone win a contest or even entertain or inform the average DFS player.

“We’ve been intrigued by daily fantasy sports for quite some time, and we’ve been working with some of the operators in somewhat limited manner for some time now,” Matthew Parvis, Chief Creative Officer for iBus Media, told ODFReport.

“We’ve done live coverage of a few of DraftKings live championship events, and also had a variety of media deals in place with the big DFS operators. We explored building something from the  ground up, but with so many projects (BookieSmash, CasinoSmash) we wanted to find something that had a framework already built.”

That framework was FantasyWired, which serves up DFS content, but is not in the same class some of the top DFS portals, currently.

Moving to DFS

There is definitely still a lot of room for growth and improvement in DFS content, and especially diversification of the content provided. There are only so many articles on the top players to pick for contests that the average DFS player can read, after all.

iBus Media has created the leader in the poker media world with PokerNews.com, setting itself apart in what is a pretty crowded market. It’s done so with a multilayered approach — it provides hard news, soft news, original videos, strategy, resources, live reporting on tournaments, and more.

“Obviously there are a ton of fledgling DFS affiliate and media sites out there, but our goal is to transfer the expertise we’ve used to win iGaming Business’ Best Poker Affiliate three years running and put it towards our other verticals, and that includes fantasy sports,” Parvis said.

Poker Players = DFS Players?

Poker and DFS have some cross-over appeal, to the point that one of the largest DFS sites, DraftKings, actively markets to poker players. But Parvis notes that poker players are not instantly primed to become DFS players.

“The crossover from poker to DFS is not as black and white as people seem to make it,” Parvis said. “We’ve had limited success with slapping DFS banners on PokerNews and yielding big results. We’ve had to take some time to really understand what poker players are looking for out of daily fantasy sports, and from there we’ve tried to adopt a strategy that does more than just market to our poker audience with DFS offers and promos.

“As a rule of thumb for any affiliate business, it’s extremely important to provide value in your what your offering. For example, why is DFS a great game for poker players, how can you transition the skills you’ve learned through playing poker and make money playing DFS? We think we’ve taken strong first steps in providing that value to our PokerNews audience through useful DFS content and not simply “sign-up here” offers. We’ll continue to bridge that gap on PokerNews, and then introduce those who are looking to take their DFS games to the next level to FantasyWired.”

What to expect?

Parvis said that FantasyWired users won’t see massive changes immediately, as the initial work will just consist of optimizing the site and identifying areas to improve upon. Parvis said visitors can expect:

  • Enhanced content strategy by August, in time for the NFL season.
  • A podcast hosted by Matt Brown (FantasyWired founder) and Brett Collson (Sports Editor-in-Chief for iBus Media) once the Major League Baseball season begins.

Parvis explains that while there may not be a lot of new content at first, that doesn’t mean FantasyWired isn’t making progress.

“What many don’t realize is how much analysis and strategy is put in to every decision that iBus Media makes on PokerNews and all of our verticals,” Parvis said. “Changes will be subtle for users, but our goal first is to focus on quality traffic acquisition and retention.”

But in the end, Parvis says his company sees an opportunity to have an impact on the DFS media and affiliate market.

“We’re looking at the long game with FantasyWired,” Parvis said. “The industry is still very much in its infancy, and while we don’t expect to be competing with the top tier media and affiliate sites by the end of the year, we’re hopefully in the conversation a year or two from now.”

 

Photo by Johnny Blood used under license CC BY-SA 2.0.

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Dustin Gouker

Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.

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