As the 2016-17 NFL regular season rapidly approaches, daily fantasy sports operators are gearing up for another lucrative 17 weeks of American football action. This year will be a little different, though, as the industry’s largest shareholders, DraftKings and FanDuel, are both dipping their toes into the wider pool of season-long fantasy sports leagues.
FanDuel was the first DFS operator to announce a season-long fantasy sports option for their customers on the 1st of this month. However, their biggest rival, DraftKings, after announcing the arrival of its latest product just yesterday, will be first to market, set to launch Tuesday. FanDuel’s version won’t go live until the regular season officially begins next month.
Both are designed with a similar concept, allowing punters to invite their friends to participate in fantasy sports drafts with season-long leaderboards, competing against each other for an equally invested prize pool.
FanDuel Introduces ‘Friends Mode’
There’s “a new way to play season-long fantasy”, boasted FanDuel in a press release earlier this month. “This newest product feature, Friends Mode, will give users the ability to play against their friends every week of the NFL season.”
The extended league platform will be available next month, aligned with the kick-off on the NFL’s regular season. Friends Mode will be available for all users on mobile and desktop.
The addition of season-long leagues on the daily fantasy sports platform was part of a much larger project for FanDuel as the company aimed for a complete overhaul. The re-branding came with a new Bill of Rights, a shiny new FanDuel Shield logo, a completely redesigned website for desktop and mobile, plus the launch of a fresh marketing campaign that hones in on the “emotional experiences” of sports fans.
“FanDuel’s redesign comes on the heels of the organization introducing a variety of new product features including beginner contests for new players, experienced player labels and a wider range of contest options for players of all levels,” the company said.
DraftKings Leagues to Launch Tomorrow
DraftKings’ version of season-long fantasy sports betting is essentially the same, allowing players to set up their own leagues, invite friends, draft players and follow leaderboards throughout the season before divvying up the prize pool. However, the company is denying it’s objective to compete with traditional season-long fantasy operators.
The promo video, released on Sunday to introduce ‘DraftKings Leagues‘, says “Want to run it all season long? You got it!” But cofounder and COO Paul Liberman called it a “complementary product to season-long,” saying, “we’re not trying to compete with those.”
Liberman opined that “the functionality and the providers in season-long are kind of ingrained. We want to be something that people also do, in addition to season-long. We want to expand on season-long, make it more fun, more social, but at the end of the day, people have their season-long leagues they’ve been doing for 20 years, they like the draft experience, the snake draft, and they’re going to keep doing that on other platforms.”
It’s also worth noting that DraftKings Leagues isn’t exactly a new feature. The company has long offered the option to create contests, invite friends and track progress on leaderboards, but as Liberman admitted, “it was buried and really difficult to use.”
DraftKings merely overhauled the existing product and turned it into a more user-friendly season-long fantasy sports product that will surely be more appreciated by the daily fantasy spots operator’s vast customer base.