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DraftKings Acquires Mixed Martial Arts Fantasy Sports Site Kountermove

DraftKings buys Kountermove MMA
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DraftKings is getting more involved in daily fantasy for combat sports and mixed martial arts with the announcement of its purchase of the DFS platform Kountermove.

DraftKings’ announcement

DraftKings already offers mixed martial arts fantasy contests and has a partnership with the UFC. But DraftKings apparently sees value in the Kountermove platform and its other, non-MMA offerings.

Kountermove, in terms of users, has a fraction of DraftKings’ user base, and there is likely a lot of cross-over between the two for their MMA contests.

Terms of the deal were not reported.

Here is part of a press release by DraftKings on the move:

DraftKings, the world’s leading daily fantasy sports platform, today announced its acquisition of Kountermove – a leading provider of daily fantasy MMA, boxing, kickboxing, and pro jiu jitsu competitions.

The transaction builds on DraftKings existing platform, further advancing the company’s leadership position in combat daily fantasy sports and accelerating the company’s overall growth in the combat sports space. With the transaction, DraftKings expects to further advance the level of competition currently provided by the company while accelerating its strategic objectives in growing the engagement with combat sports.

“At DraftKings our mission is to bring sports fans closer to the sports that they love, and we are excited to expand our combat sports offerings,” said Matt Kalish, Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of DraftKings. “The Kountermove team has built a tremendous product with an enthusiastic fan base and we’re excited to grow with them. “ Fantasy sports give contestants the opportunity to play the role of a general manager, creating a fantasy lineup of real-world athletes in an attempt to earn more “fantasy points” than competitors.

In daily fantasy MMA, points are awarded for significant strikes, advances (e.g., mount, back control), takedowns, reversals or sweeps, knockdowns, knockout or submission finishes or a decision win, and in daily fantasy boxing, for significant strikes, knockdowns, knockout or TKOfinishes or a decision win. Brian Knapp, Co-Founder and CEO of Kountermove said, “We founded Kountermove out of a passion for martial arts – as two Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu sparring partners with black belts and more than 30 years of martial arts training combined – hoping to contribute to the sport in some meaningful way. Our team now joining the leader in daily fantasy MMA is the perfect culmination of our earliest vision.”

Kountermove’s URL already redirects users to DraftKings with instructions of how to transfer their accounts.

DraftKings’ MMA background

DraftKings first started offering DFS contests for mixed martial arts a little over a year ago. And the site has seen growth in the segment ever since.

The site indicated exactly how serious it was about MMA by signing a deal with the UFC last February that made it the organization’s official daily fantasy sports partner. As part of that deal, DraftKings often appears throughout TV broadcasts for UFC events.

Mixed martial arts, by itself, is a small fraction of the total daily fantasy sports market that is dominated by contests based on football, basketball and baseball.

Kountermove and new markets?

The Kountermove purchase continues to signal DraftKings’ desire to explore new and sometimes niche parts of the fantasy sports market. DraftKings had previously rolled out DFS for NASCAR, eSports and has a lot of success with its golf product.

While MMA is at the core of the Kountermove product, the acquisition gives DraftKings an easy entry point into other combat sports. How successful a foray into non-MMA sports like boxing might be is a variable; fantasy for boxing has remained, so far, a very niche offering.

MMA, so far, has remained a sport that many DFS sites have not tried to tap into.

The acquisition also comes on the heels of DraftKings going live in the UK for fantasy sports.

While FanDuel has stuck generally to the core fantasy sports — football, basketball, baseball and hockey — it did purchase the fantasy eSports site AlphaDraft last year. That site still remains a standalone product.

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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