Operator talk: StarsDraft aims for DFS glory ahead of NFL opener

Operator talk: StarsDraft aims for DFS glory ahead of NFL opener

Thursday, September 10, 2015
Eric Hollreiser said that brand and innovation can propel StarsDraft

While New England Patriots begin the defence of their NFL championship today (Thursday), a battle for dominance in the daily fantasy sports (DFS) sector is underway following the launch of PokerStars’ offering. 

StarsDraft went live this week, just in time for the NFL season opener between the Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Eric Hollreiser, head of corporate communications at parent company Amaya, told TotallyGaming.com that the operator has already initiated several key improvements on existing offerings.

While FanDuel and DraftKings have established an estimated 95 per cent of market share – and both are now believed to be worth more than $1bn (€890m) – Hollreiser believes that PokerStars’ brand, infrastructure and innovation can help it to make a significant impact.

He said: “We see an opportunity to take a long-term view in order to build a sustainable mainstream consumer DFS market.

“Our goal with StarsDraft is to be user-friendly and take the time to educate consumers about how DFS works, and how they can improve their knowledge and skills to increase their chances at beating the field.

“We also believe more broadly there is crossover to capitalise on between poker players and daily fantasy sports. Amaya’s gaming brands have more than 95 million registered players globally, including an estimated 1 in 10 US adults. With the launch of StarsDraft by PokerStars, we provide a safe and secure DFS experience that millions of US consumers can trust.”

StarsDraft will offer customers a suite of new promotions ahead of the NFL season, which runs until February 2016, including free entry into a $100,000 Week 1 contest.

The operator is reaching out to DFS novices and experienced players alike through a series of initiatives, such as Victron, in which players can research and build a line-up by adjusting sliders to weight which stats are most important to them.

Hollreiser said: “The opening weeks of NFL are some of the most exciting times for any fantasy sports enthusiast and are important. However, unlike season-long fantasy leagues, DFS allows you to draft a new team each week - ensuring you’re never out of the action.

“StarsDraft has a number of core differentiators from the existing market including ease of use, a focus on education, innovative technology, top-notch security and customer service and we’re skilled in the regulatory space.

“StarsDraft is the platform for both users wanting to first learn DFS and those who are fiercely competing to earn bragging rights daily among their friends, family, co-workers and other sports fans from across the US.”

With sports betting still illegal across most of the US, DFS will again be the main outlet for sports fans to back their knowledge and judgement without breaking the law. 

DraftKings and FanDuel may be the market leaders, but StarsDraft, Viggle, Yahoo and Star Fantasy Leagues are among those looking to make an impact.

Hollreiser said: “We’re focused on officially launching StarsDraft in time for the start of NFL season this week, and providing innovative DFS experiences ongoing for every sports fan in a safe and fun environment.

“We hope that new and experienced players will check us out and play with us at StarsDraft.”

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