Jamie Reeves is the director of affiliate website Fplbet and an experienced consultant for daily fantasy football businesses.
Jamie has worked behind the scenes with a large number of DFS sites operating in the UK space, including FanTeam, Mondogoal, Fanager, FantasyBet, and more recently Bet4theBest. Fplbet incidentally is a great resource to check in on for fantasy football tips and guidance if you’re having a midseason slump.
We spoke to Jamie about what operators need to do to attract customers. Is its future for companies offering a product in B2C or B2B? We also discussed the state of the industry in 2017 in the UK, as well as opportunities abroad.
SBC: What does it take for a DFS B2C operator to be successful in the UK in 2017?
Jamie: It’s important that B2C operators accept that it’s tough to be successful when making a niche product in what is still a fledgling market. Operators will need to broaden their horizons more than standard salary-capped pool betting which has become formulaic.
We began to see this last year with different types of seasonal games on FanTeam and Yahoo, fantasy betting on Bet4theBest & Squawka, and six-a-side games on Premier Punt, SkyBet & Picklive.
A DFS operator willing to broaden the variety of game formats in one platform should be successful in 2017. As it stands, most customers play across a variety of sites to access their favourite games which is too time consuming.
The more established operator like Sun Dream Team took a step ahead as it now includes seasonal, monthly, weekly and betting in one platform. Likewise with Sky which includes seasonal, six-a-side, score prediction and betting in one platform.
Other aspects such as going mobile, acting on customer feedback and branding alongside ambassadors will also prove important this year.
SBC: Will this year see further consolidation in this industry or are there still opportunities for newcomers in the UK and Europe?
Jamie: There’s always room for newcomers but success will depend on whether they have the enough capital and ingenuity to build and retain a solid user-base.
There are opportunities when it comes to offering other sports (golf, cricket, MMA) alongside football. As it stands there is only a handful of smaller operators like PlayON & FanTeam offering multiple sports aside from Draft Kings.
I can see tie-ups with bookmakers to offer sports betting and fantasy in one platform. I also see more opportunities for start-ups over consolidation with merger.
SBC: Much has been said about the potential of the LatAm market when it comes to fantasy sports…thoughts?
Jamie: Latin America has a huge potential for fantasy sports, both traditional season-long and DFS format. Liga MX coverage has flooded the American market with 80-90% of matches available with a decent cable package.
Univision, the largest Spanish speaking channel operating in the US, have their own fantasy game for Liga MX and their broadcasters highlight players & their fantasy prices whilst the actual game is taking place.
We’ve also seen this begin to happen in the UK with Sky Sports advertising their SkyBet Fantasy Six-A-Side product ahead of live-broadcasted matches.
I can’t speak for DFS operating laws for Latin America, but Draft Kings offer LigaMX games on their site which regularly fill up. As the status of the league continues to grow, the DFS market could see a huge boom for that league.
However, I think it’s unlikely we’ll see any UK providers tapping into this market any time soon.
SBC: What are the differences between running an affiliate site in DFS as opposed to sports betting? Assumedly readers tend to be a lot more stats hungry..
Jamie: That’s correct, far more user education is required also. Marketing sports betting is simple for two reasons. One, football betting culture is stigma free within the UK, and something you’re familiar with even as a child and two, sportsbooks have spent millions on branding, making their product become one that the consumer can trust.
When it comes to marketing DFS, you have to make a conscious effort to first educate players how to play and then to provide them with the necessary statistics. Creativity is key, as you’re essentially trying to get people to deposit into an unknown website to wager on an unknown concept.
I do feel that the lack of sign-up offers somewhat slows down the industries progression. Contrary to popular belief, I feel that freerolls (with guaranteed pots) should be replaced with free bets upon deposit for new customers.
SBC: Will the merger of the big two mean DFS becomes mainstream in the UK this year? Or do you see the future of the industry as B2B and a part of betting operators’ sportsbooks?
Jamie: Even with the merger of the big two (FanDuel & Draft Kings), DFS has a lot to do before it becomes mainstream in the UK.
Extensive tailored marketing and informing the large number of seasonal players on how daily games work is still non-existent. These efforts need to be scaled up for DFS to become more mainstream and eventually equal & outpace the hugely popular seasonal games.
There is a strong future for DFS as a B2B product and as part of sportsbooks, but there is an even bigger future for DFS as a standalone B2C business in the long term.