FanDuel acquires AlphaDraft to get into esports

This room is filled with people who would potentially love to play daily-fantasy esports.

Big companies are starting to see a lot of potential to make money in esports.

A day after DraftKings announced it’s expanding into esports next month with daily-fantasy games for League of Legends, competitor FanDuel is doing the same through an acquisition. The company has purchased the daily-fantasy startup AlphaDraft, which debuted earlier this year to provide a FanDuel-like experience for multiplayer online arena battlers and shooters. We’ve heard rumors of this acquisition for a few weeks — although AlphaDraft was also hearing offers from Yahoo Fantasy and even DraftKings.

Fantasy sports is a multibillion-dollar business, and daily fantasy is pushing that revenue to record highs. At the same time, the popularity of pro gaming is on the rise — and so are its earnings. FanDuel and DraftKings obviously both see this as an opportunity to get in on the ground level of what could turn into a mammoth industry over the next decade.

Former NBA Commish David Stern tells me that FanDuel has acquired @AlphaDraft, which he is invested in

— Darren Heitner (@DarrenHeitner) September 24, 2015

As we pointed out in our story yesterday about DraftKings’ esports ambitions, this acquisition by FanDuel is likely a move to ensure its revenues have a market that it can grow into.

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Traditional sports are massively popular right now — professional football in particular has probably never had the level of engagement that it has today. But concerns around the safety of contact sports, along with a generation of parents who are trying to grind their children into superstar with the 10,000-hour rule, has youth participation in sports like football, soccer, and basketball noticeably falling off.

If research keeps revealing that football and other physical activities will lead to brain disease, interest in these sports could erode with the participation levels over the next 10 to 20 years. And that’s where the rise of esports could make up the difference.

Tens of millions of people have tuned in to watch events like the finals for Counter-Strike, Dota 2, and League of Legends. Every competitive-gaming genre is seeing year-over-year growth in terms of viewership. Marketers and sponsors have already taken notice, and that has the esports business on a trajectory to reach more than $ 465 million in revenue by 2017. But fantasy esports could have the potential to push this market to $ 1 billion and well beyond.

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Facebook goes down and Twitter lights up

Facebook crashed for at least 10 minutes today and then struggled to fully come back online.

When users tried to open or refresh their Facebook pages a little after 12:30 p.m. ET today, they were greeted not with their news feed but with a largely blank screen that simply said, “Sorry, something went wrong. We’re working on it and we’ll get it fixed as soon as we can.”

The site began to come back online around 12:50 p.m., though some users reported still having trouble loading the site until about 1 p.m.

Facebook did not return a request for information on what caused the problem.

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FanDuel announces acquisition of leading esports platform AlphaDraft

businesswire-4

PRESS RELEASE:

Strategic alliance marks FanDuel’s entry into the rapidly growing fantasy eSports market

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–September 24, 2015–

FanDuel Inc. (www.fanduel.com), the largest one-day fantasy sports operator, today announced it has acquired leading fantasy eSports platform, AlphaDraft. Marking its entry into the fantasy eSports market, FanDuel will leverage the partnership to enhance and expand core product offerings in order to further reach new sports fans while maximizing engagement.

With the best talent in the sports tech industry, FanDuel’s acquisition of AlphaDraft, the premier daily fantasy sports platform that seamlessly blends eSports, live streaming and fantasy sports contests, will bring the company’s employee base in-house to help create a one of its kind daily fantasy product specifically for eSports. This partnership marks the first time FanDuel will have a product for the eSports community.

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“With over 200 million people globally watching eSports, AlphaDraft gives those fans a way to engage with this burgeoning entertainment product that creates an enormous opportunity for us,” said Nigel Eccles, CEO and Co-founder, FanDuel. “This is sports for a new demographic, with very little crossover with what are considered traditional sports fans, and this acquisition gives us the ability to leverage the expertise of AlphaDraft’s team, while helping their efforts in customer acquisition and building awareness of this new industry. It’s a win-win.”

The acquisition of AlphaDraft continues FanDuel’s long-term strategy of acquiring top talent around the fantasy sports industry as it builds one of the finest fantasy products for players – all designed to enhance the sports experience. This comes on the heels of the acquisition of numberFire, the premier next generation sports analytics platform, and Kotikan, a leading mobile app developer.

“It is clear that FanDuel is committed to the fan community,” said Todd Peterson, CEO of AlphaDraft. “This pairing creates an incredible opportunity to drive the fantasy industry forward and create compelling products that will enhance all fan engagement.”

Investors in AlphaDraft to date include former NBA Commissioner David Stern, Melo7 Tech Partners, Metamorphic Ventures, WME, Upfront Ventures, IDG Ventures, Greycroft Partners, Freestyle Capital, KEC, Amplify.LA and others. eSports generated $ 612m in revenue last year and 13% of all live stream viewers are watching eSports. By 2017, the number of eSports fans is projected to come close to that of American football.

About FanDuel

FanDuel is the leading daily fantasy sports provider with the sole mission of making sports more exciting. Founded in 2009, FanDuel has redefined fantasy sports; offering a multitude of one-day game options for NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and college football and basketball, with new public and private leagues forming daily, ranging in size from two to thousands of players. FanDuel is the Official Partner of the NBA and has multiple deals with NFL and NBA teams, driving fan engagement, hosting numerous live events and creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences for sports fans throughout the year. Based in New York City with offices in Los Angeles, Orlando, Edinburgh and Glasgow, FanDuel has raised $ 363 million in funding from investors including KKR, Google Capital, Time Warner/Turner Sports, Shamrock Capital, NBC Sports Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Pentech Ventures, Piton Capital and Bullpen Capital.

About AlphaDraft

Founded in 2014, AlphaDraft is the premier online platform that seamlessly blends the highly popular worlds of eSports, live streaming and fantasy sports, with daily and weekly contests for cash and other real-world prizes. Members draft a new team every day without season-long commitments, and play against friends and other fans without having to create their own fantasy leagues. There is no purchase necessary to register, and AlphaDraft offers both free and paid contests. For more information, please visit www.AlphaDraft.com or follow us on Twitter at @AlphaDraft.

 

 

View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150924006288/en/

FanDuel
Emily Bass, 646-930-0231
[email protected]
or
AlphaDraft
Mario Kroll, 919-414-2038
[email protected]



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