The Fantasy Sports market is worth around $70 billion. Approximately 32 million Americans participate in fantasy football each year, with each of them spending $467 dollars a year on average. American Football accounts for the largest proportion, with 11 out of the 15 million opting to spend their time scrutinising the American Football rooster.
These figures are pretty astounding, but what really caught my attention was the fact that the average fantasy player spends 3 hours per week managing their picks. The majority of these people will play a season long campaign that consists of 17 weeks, with players developing strategies for the long-term.
Up until recently there was little option for players in terms of a season long commitment, if they wanted to play on a weekly or even daily basis, there just wasn't a platform that allowed them to do it.
The introduction of the 'Daily Fantasy Sports' concept is something which has changed this, with FanDuel currently the most successful 'daily fantasy' platform available. FanDuel offers its users one day leagues, with no-season long commitments and even the opportunity to create private leagues.
What's revolutionary about FanDuel is that you don't have to commit much money to it, there are games which allow you to play for just one dollar, meaning that as a concept it's far more accessible than other fantasy league games which can can cost around $20 to play. For example, Yahoo's Pro 50 leagues cost $50 dollars to enter and their Pro250 games cost $250. This is a considerable chunk of money, and requires a commitment which many are unable to keep to. FanDuel allows players to get involved for as little as $1, meaning that people can participate when they have some spare money at the end of the week and elevates much of the financial worry that can come with being a member of the fantasy sports world.
Daily Fantasy games are also highly flexible and can be adjusted to an individual player's lifestyle. If someone misses the 13.00 kick-offs, it doesn't mean they have to miss out, as there are a number of games that start late on weekdays and even on Sundays. FanDuel has also put a lot of emphasis on its customer service, with questions turned around extremely quickly.
The daily game is also played differently to the season long campaigns, with kickers and defenders far more important in the shorter format. Additionally, with no 'flex' option available, the fact that there will be a core of players who are picked by everyone, every week, places more importance on a player's ability to pick correctly outside of this group and to predict who out of the core players is going to have a bad game.
There are of course disadvantages, but there's no doubt that daily fantasy could reinvent the way we communicate with fantasy leagues. It's certainly picking up a lot of steam as well, with FanDuel alone making around $40 million per year. Whether it's the 'future' of fantasy sports remains unclear, but it'll be interesting to see how the space develops into 2015. FanDuel have recently gone into the NBA and this should only strengthen the FanDuel brand as they expand into a greater portfolio of sports.