With daily fantasy eSports exploding in popularity, DraftKings has decided to break into the industry and offer users the chance to create and wager on their own videogame dream teams.
A post on DraftKings’ Playbook news site announced the company’s plans for the growing vertical. “We’re launching an eSports section on DraftKings, where you can play fantasy eSports and win big money, just like you do now with football, baseball, and all the other sports we cover.”
The post was followed by another, which gives users a primer on League of Legends, one of the most popular games in the eSports industry. Matches can feature two players battling head-to-head or teams of players competing against rival teams in a league. “Similar to traditional season-long fantasy sports, your fantasy team will score points based on how your players perform during that single day’s games,” the post said.
eSports selling out stadiums
eSports is more than just kids playing video games, it’s serious business. In fact, fans regularly pack sold-out arenas to watch the finals of their favorite championships. That said, DraftKings is well-positioned to take advantage of that popularity, as it has exclusive partnerships with New York City’s Madison Square Garden and the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
DraftKings did not reveal when it plans to go live with eSports, but stated it would offer games like Hearthstone, StarCraft II, Street Fighter, DOTA 2, SMITE, and of course, League of Legends. Interested users are currently directed to a sign up prompt which will notify them once the platform launches.
DraftKings isn’t the first DFS site to offer fantasy eSports betting. Vulcun and AlphaDraft, which both deal exclusively with DFeS, launched earlier this year and have seen strong growth in that short time. DraftKings, however, is the first mainstream daily fantasy operator to make the decision to delve into eSports.
Analysts believe that the DFeS industry could introduce a whole new demographic to the daily fantasy industry. Viewers who enjoy watching their favorite videogame streamers on Twitch might not be interested in playing daily fantasy for traditional sports, and vice versa.
DraftKings’ US and UK sites will link player pools
DraftKings made another big announcement today, revealing that it will open its UK sister site within the next month. In an interview with Dan Back on RotoGrinders, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins told listeners the news, adding that the US and UK sites would share player pools.
“There absolutely will be pooled liquidity,” he said. “Trying to build something from scratch, country to country, isn’t really interesting. When you can enter a market like the U.K. and come locked and loaded with millions and millions in prizes and millions of people playing, you’re going to be a lot more successful getting people to try and retain on the platform.”
Some have questioned whether DFS has the potential to become popular outside of the US. In many European countries, it’s legal for fans to bet directly on the outcome of sporting events. But in the US, operators are prohibited from taking sports bets, outside of Las Vegas. Therefore, some see DFS as an outlet for those who would normally bet directly on a game, but are prohibited from doing so.
Launching with massive prize pools, like the company’s recent $10 million Week One contest, will undoubtedly be a strong incentive for UK players to try their hand at DFS.