Reshaping the Game:
Daily Fantasy Sports Convinces Poker Stars to Re-brand
Daily fantasy sports has experienced a massive surge of growth in 2014. The most important news to date was the infusion of $70 million into FanDuel, led by Shamrock Capital Advisors, with involvement by NBC Sports Ventures and Bullpen Capital. That investment closely followed a$41 million funding for FanDuel’s main competitor in the daily fantasy sports space, DraftKings.
Where Fanduel was once the lead dog with about a dozen companies battling for the second spot, DraftKings has now emerged as a competitive rival in the daily fantasy sports landscape. They can proudly call themselves a close 2nd to Fanduel and are not to be taken lightly.
If you’re remember or were familiar with early-2000’s of online poker, daily fantasy sports works in a similar way. There are dozens of daily leagues with different buy-ins (from $2 to hundred dollars), different draft games and styles that include setting up a person’s team in the using a salary cap or snake draft, and different size leagues from 2 people to thousands of people.
Daily fantasy Sports has changed the game.
So much so that world-renowned poker brand PokerStars has announced they are to diversify from the brand they’re famous for and open up their doors to casino and sportsbook offerings.
The brand announced the move in late November and have already begun to roll-out both blackjack and roulette on a market-by-market basis with the expectation of reaching almost half of their current members by the end of 2014.
It’s of course the sportsbook, however, which will be most appealing to football fans. The likes of the Super Bowl sees huge numbers wagered – in fact last year’s game between the Seahawks and Broncos saw a record $119.4 million bet in Nevada casinos alone, while fantasy football also brings big numbers into betting.
The announcement of the sportsbook alongside the new PokerStars casino comes following a successful trial on PokerStars.ES and the brand’s sister site Full Tilt earlier this year, which saw 30% of poker customers enjoy casino games each month, giving them the perfect platform to expand that to PokerStars.com.
Eric Hollreiser, Head of Corporate Communications said, “We are taking the same principles, practices and integrity that make PokerStars such a successful and beloved brand and applying them to new verticals.”
The brand spent a lot of time studying the behavior of customers on the two sites and found that the casino games not only extended the value of existing customers but reactivated dormant accounts too, and it’s hoped both the casino and sportsbook will have the same effect on the .com site.
It’s highly likely that sports fans will be intrigued to take a look at the sportsbook, particularly with the brand already having a strong hold in sports thanks to their connection with major athletes.
They have both tennis star Rafael Nadal and Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldo in ambassadorial roles alongside sponsoring a number of Olympians, which has always gathered a large amount of attention from the sporting community.
Although, they are still conscious about keeping their current players happy – particularly those who prefer a poker-only environment. The brand, which has over 50 million members, has enabled features to allow customers to remove the additional games from their view as well as unsubscribe to any promotions or marketing of casino and sportsbook.
Hollreiser added, “We are committed to extending our leadership in poker and will continue to serve the passionate online poker player, while expanding our reach into new audiences and new gaming opportunities.”
And sports betting presents some opportunity both on mobile and web. The industry has had a mega boom thanks to the rise of the smartphone, as one in five around the world now owns one. This is already benefitting PokerStars immensely with their apps, and it’s hoped the sportsbook and casino will compliment that further.
It’s yet to be announced when exactly the sportsbook will be launched, although with nine months until the start of the new NFL season, we could have the chance to back our franchise to go all the way to Super Bowl L.