Is success this season integral for DFS in Europe?

Is success this season integral for DFS in Europe?

Tuesday, August 9, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
Can operators replicate their successes in the US, and how they could go about doing so.

Will 2016/17 be the season of real money daily fantasy sports in the UK? It certainly appears to be a make or break season for DFS operators looking to carve out a chunk of the lucrative football betting market in the UK, but the question remains will enough punters here take to daily fantasy.

FanDuel has now joined the likes of DraftKings, Oulala, Mondogoal and relative newcomer Premier Punt.

The long awaited arrival of FanDuel is a big one, and the company has worked on a product from the ground-up to ensure that it’s uniquely targeted to the UK’s football fans. The focus will be well and truly on the English Premier League to begin with, and the intention is for more leagues to be added and for the company to spread through Europe following its planned successes on UK shores.

FanDuel International Marketing Director Karol Corcoran said: “For us the next steps post the EPL will still be football focused; we’ll add additional leagues and then we’ll take our football product to other countries around the world. There’s much more headroom in football before we look to add other sports.”

US rivals DraftKings launched in the UK last season but, aside from notable club partnerships signed with Liverpool, Arsenal and Watford, they didn’t make too much of a splash. There was little in the way of mass marketing, and certainly nothing like the major advertising campaigns that audiences were subjected to in the FanDuel v DraftKings televised ad wars in the States.

One argument for DFS failing to really take off in the UK and Europe to date is a basic lack of widespread knowledge of it. The assumption is that with another major player in FanDuel now arriving, this could be set to change. In addition the legal battles throughout the States last year hit both DraftKings and FanDuel hard, and whilst these are ongoing they’ve had some let up in recent times after New York’s announcement that it would regulate and allow real money DFS.

Oulala and Mondogoal are two other DFS operators that immediately spring to mind when discussing DFS in Europe. Mondogoal has been very busy signing partnerships to expand its brand awareness; it now has deals in place with Roma, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Chelsea, West Ham and Tottenham.

Oulala meanwhile has a partnership with EPL champions Leicester City, and both these operators are also looking down the avenue of B2B white label agreements with bookmakers. Mondogoal has signed deals with both SISAL and Lottomatica in Italy to provide each with a DFS white label option for its punters, and the argument here is that instead of competing with bookies they can work better together. Oulala has signed a deal with an Italian partner of its own in Game Interaction Group, and reportedly has some more in the pipeline. 

Oulala CEO Valery Bollier said: “This season will see the rise of DFS in Europe for at least three reasons. First of all, thanks to the European media’s contribution by showing increasingly more statistics and infographics, fans have begun to talk about football more in relation to numbers and less with words. This was an essential preliminary step.

“Secondly, the two main American actors, Draftkings and FanDuel, will start contributing a serious portion of their marketing budget to gain customers. This will help raise awareness on our sector significantly.

“Finally, European iGaming operators are now quickly adopting DFS in their offers. This means that most sports punters in Europe will soon be offered an easy access to a DFS game.

He added: “There is no doubt that this season is the key season for DFS in Europe.”

That would work towards solving the main issue of real money DFS in the UK which is that sports betting is huge, there are multiple, wealthy operators and it’s something which is ingrained in the culture. Whilst sports bettors often enjoy a new feature or betting game, they’re often short lived novelties and it’ll be a challenge to tear them away from their near instinctive accumulators each weekend.

By integrating DFS into sportsbooks customers can become accustomed to them faster and there’s no need to head to another site, download a new app and deposit money into another wallet.

Totally Gaming says: Real money DFS in the UK faces an uphill battle but the first and most integral part will be ensuring mass awareness of the product. If it can achieve this then the market in the UK is large enough to accommodate such a product alongside sports betting, and DFS can offer customers that something different.

The success of the Barclays Premier League season long fantasy game, which boasted over 3.4 million players last season, is proof that fans enjoy this type of product. It’s in the marketing, presentation and delivery of DFS this season that will be the deciding factor in its future.

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