Daily MVP, a small daily fantasy sports site and mobile app, announced its decision to move away from paid-entry contests to a free-to-play model.
Daily MVP’s background and announcement
Daily MVP launched to great fanfare in 2013, with a $25 million investment from Cantor Ventures. David Geller, former global head of fantasy sports at Yahoo, was tabbed as CEO of Daily MVP’s parent company, Top Line Game Labs.
The company once had some high-profile athletes in the fold, including New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady — who appeared in a commercial in 2014 — and former NBA great Steve Nash.
Daily MVP offers a differentiated product to the salary-cap model that dominates the industry, with an alternative approach to DFS. And while Daily MVP had carved a niche out for itself, it had not been able to crack the upper echelon of the industry.
The free-to-play model for Daily MVP
Coupled with the increased legal uncertainty surrounding DFS, Daily MVP made the decision to end its paid-entry games.
Here’s the email sent to users:
‘When we started DailyMVP, we set out to deliver a best-in-class daily fantasy sports experience. Our focus was (and continues to be) creating a fun, engaging fantasy game for sports fans across the country.
Recently, the entire daily fantasy sports industry has come under fire, calling into question how much skill is required to win in daily fantasy. Unfortunately, the legal uncertainty is causing us to pull our game from certain states, which we see as a potential trend moving forward. As a result, to remain true to our mission, we will transition DailyMVP from a paid to a completely free game as of February 3, 2016. This will enable us to continue operating across the country and serving you, our loyal customers. For us, daily fantasy is all about the fun (not the money), and there is no reason why this should stop.
If you currently have a DailyMVP wallet balance, please submit a complete withdrawal request no later than Feb 15, 2016. Keep in mind that withdrawals are processed via PayPal (above and beyond any refunds to your original payment instruments, if applicable) and take 1-3 business days to process. If you have any questions about the withdrawal process, please contact us at [email protected].
The move allows the company to move forward with far fewer legal concerns than the companies it leaves behind in the DFS space, albeit with a much different road ahead as far as its future and potential revenue.
Change for DFS, and the free model
The legal uncertainty and financial footing of the industry has affected decision-making across a number of companies:
- Vulcun, which launched as eSports fantasy site, shut down its paid-entry contests to focus on other efforts..
- TheScore, which had planned a rollout of a paid product, launched QuickDraft with only free-to-play contests.
- Payment processor Vantiv announced its intention to exit the DFS industry.
- The dissolution of FantasyUp, while the site still owed player balance, is the most public example of a DFS site shutting down.