Fantasy sports are becoming more popular these days, with big brands like Fan Duel and Draft Kings dominating the market. With PaddyPower Betfair making a bid to purchase Fanduel post the recent PASPA rulings in the US, this market has traditionally been seen as a way to circumvent stringing online gambling laws in the past, but now is becoming fertile ground for affiliates looking to expand their reach.
Growth in the UK market
While you may associate these games most with the US, there’s a growing market for esports and fantasy in the UK too. Companies like Fan Duel had already set up UK headquarters, to be a part of this growing market which shows that they clearly see merit in what could end up being a large sector of the iGaming industry.
With 9 million new fantasy sports players choosing to play between 2013 and 2015 and the trend is continuing as a wider knowledge of the genre has been created. Part of this is due to big legal cases against fantasy sports providers, which have created a lot of press over the last few years.
Within the UK, the Gambling Commission is quite vague on what exactly constitutes fantasy sports leagues. They’re fairly lax on this kind of gambling, which is allowing these companies to thrive. They’re also able to cross market their data for use within other iGaming platforms.
How do brands differentiate themselves?
There are quite a lot of different brands on the market, though only the big players have really managed to permeate the public conscious. This means we know the names of the big ones, while the smaller ones tend to fight for space in the market.
Just like many other sectors in the gambling industry, those that wish to succeed in fantasy sports must deliver a USP. Many UK brands focus on the fact that they offer more traditional UK games, like football, instead of American ones like NFL.
Companies like Mondogoal have also launched affiliate deals, partnering with the likes of Yahoo. This allows them to gain further visibility in the market, while trading off part of their profits, instead of an upfront fee for advertising.
Smaller companies like Dribble have also chosen to specialise in just one sport. The market of football fans in the UK is massive, so pushing just this sport can really pay off for a company. This allows them to corner one niche, instead of spreading their resources further afield.
What’s next for this industry?
Right now, this industry is still in the early stages in the UK. For this reason, a lot of these companies are in a trial and error stage. Whether they’re brand new or have existed in another market, they need to test the waters of the UK audience. They have to learn what makes these players tick and how to retain them.
Creating smaller timeframes is one trend, which allows players to enjoy fantasy sports without committing to an entire season. No doubt, different kinds of players will be attracted to different seasons and timeframes. It will be up to the operators themselves to discover which demographic will become the most successful for them.
We’re not seeing a lot of cryptocurrency in use on these sites as of yet, but this could be on the way. The younger demographic that enjoys this kind of game could be more receptive to these cryptocurrencies than a more traditional casino audience.
Mobile play is the most popular way to access these sports, so there’s a lot that other affiliates can learn from these sites. They understand their audience and know how to court them with the right software. This is a lesson that all iGaming brands can take from this niche industry.
Fantasy sports will most likely continue to grow consistently over the next few years. If you want to learn about the up and coming niches in this industry, book your ticket to AffiliateFEST now.