Yahoo Wants To Shift DFS Product Toward Fun, Fan Engagement

Yahoo Daily Fantasy Sports Rolls Out Changes To ‘Make Contests More Transparent’

Yahoo DFS
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Yahoo Sports announced a series of changes to its daily fantasy sports platform on Tuesday to “make contests more transparent,” including limiting multiple entries in any contest to a maximum of 10.

“We are making some changes to our daily fantasy product which are small in terms of the actual effort that is requires, but we think they are pretty deep changes in terms of the play of the game,” Michael La Guardia, Head of Product for Yahoo Sports and Finance, told Legal Sports Report. “We think it’s important to make a shift to move the game much more toward one that’s about enjoyment, about sports.”

The changes for Yahoo DFS

Yahoo — which has often remained fairly quiet since its daily fantasy sports launch last July — is making it clear that it still has designs on making in-roads in the DFS market with Tuesday’s announcement.

Yahoo was easily No. 3 in terms of entry fees generated over the final half of 2016, but well behind industry leaders DraftKings and FanDuel. But for Yahoo, the bottom line is likely less about sheer dollars and more about attracting and engaging users across its larger sports platform, which includes a vibrant season-long fantasy product.

The initiative from Yahoo, called “Fair Play,” includes these changes:

  • Limiting entries to a maximum of 10 per user per contest, including a provision that a user cannot have more than 1% of total entries in a contest (i.e. in a contest of 100 players, only one entry would be allowed).
  • Identifying “veteran” players with a badge.
  • Eliminating and prohibiting scripting tools to upload or edit entries.

Most of the changes also fall roughly in line with proposed regulations from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey — although the limits on multi-entry surpass her proposals. Yahoo’s announcement also follows some changes made by DraftKings and FanDuel, which earlier eliminated the use of third-party scripts.

“We think the three of these changes together are going to significantly change the complexion of Yahoo Daily Fantasy, particularly driving it much more toward where Yahoo’s core offerings have always been — around sports, around the love of sports and around the engagement aspects of fantasy,” La Guardia said.

A closer look at the changes

The biggest change is the entry limit, which is aimed at limiting the impact of DFS professionals on contests. Recreational DFS users often don’t pay a lot of entry fees on any given night, and this change allows players to know they are not entering contests where pros are dominating the field with a massive number of entries.

The identification of “veteran” players is also meant to limit the impact of pros. Veterans will be defined as users who have entered more than 1,000 contests within a single year, or who have entered more than 250 contests and prevailed in greater than 65% of them within a single year, or who have won a single prize of $1,000 or greater more than three times within a single year.

“We’re making this change so people will know who they’re playing against,” La Guardia said.

These newly identified “veterans” will be invited to play in a freeroll contest, Yahoo indicated.

Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

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.