During an earnings call in April, Yahoo! CEO Melissa Mayer made the low-key announcement that the company would soon enter the daily fantasy sports space with software developed in-house. Now, the appearance of a menu item called “Daily Fantasy” in the company’s new “Fantasy Wallet” could signal that the launch of the product is imminent.
A few eagle-eyed players noticed the new option in the “Transaction History” section of the new MLB Pro Leagues wallet. The DFS button is accompanied by a link to view only a users’ “Full Fantasy” history, and an option to view “All” transactions.
The status of Yahoo!’s MLB Pro Leagues had been in doubt, with Forbes sports writer Marc Edelman suggesting that the company might cancel them entirely. After Yahoo!’s decision to shutter its Play-for-Cash Fantasy Basketball Leagues, while at the same time closing its online texas hold ‘em portal, Edelman believed the company to be moving away from online gaming due to the potential legal risks involved.
Soon after, that theory was blown out of the water when Mayer announced that the company would be releasing its own DFS product. Yahoo! certainly has the clout to compete with giants like FanDuel and DraftKings. In fact, the company’s competitors will be at a marked disadvantage after launch, as they will no longer be able to advertise on Yahoo!’s popular sports networks.
“While arriving late to the DFS Party, Yahoo! will benefit from several advantages it holds over its competitors,” said Mayor. “The company is considered to be the largest provider of season-long daily fantasy games, [meaning] that the Yahoo! product would hit the ground running with a built-in player base.”
Yahoo! won’t be the only newcomer into the DFS space this year. In March, online gaming giant Amaya/PokerStars announced that it would be launching its own product as well. While little is known about the project, Amaya CEO David Baazov remarked that the company would pursue the acquisition of a current operator, and hopes to launch by the 2015 NFL season.