DraftKings Begins Daily Fantasy Tennis with Wimbledon
With the first day of the 2018 edition of Wimbledon underway, DraftKings begins their first foray into daily fantasy for tennis. The Boston-based company intentionally announcing their new daily fantasy just days before the iconic London tournament, citing the large TV audiences as a big reason for trying their hand at DFS Tennis.
Mark Nerenberg, DraftKings Vice President of Game Operations and Development said:
“By expanding into tennis, we have an opportunity to provide a new and engaging experience for our current customer base while broadening our reach to attract tennis fans, globally. Over 25 million people in the U.S. alone tuned in to watch Wimbledon last year, and we want to be a part of that.”
Adding tennis to their daily fantasy lineup has mouth-watering potential for DraftKings. Tennis has an estimated following of a billion people worldwide, as well as a rare phenomenon of both men’s and women’s finals having similar viewing ratings (the men’s and women’s finals in the 2018 French Open last month had a 1.1 and 1.0 rating respectively).
How it Works
Players are given a $50,000 salary cap to select 6 players. Contests are based on a single day or round of play, allowing players to bet on every day of the two-week tournament.
Points are awarded (and lost) on the expected game won/lost and sets won/lost, as well as a variety of stats. Aces award players points while double faults lost points. Winning a set without dropping a game is rewarded as well as a player winning a match in straight sets. Players are also given points if an opponent retires from a match (something becoming more and more prominent in major tournaments).
Point values also vary between matches that are best of 3 or best of 5 sets. In regular tournaments, all matches are best of 3 sets. But in “Grand Slam” tournaments (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open) the men play best of 5 while women play best of 3.
Tennis is an inherently stats-heavy sport, allowing many different ways to track and score points. Because of this, tennis offers daily fantasy players many different ways to play given the variety of strategies seen on the court.
For example, gamers may take a risk on the big serve of American John Isner to try to rack up points based on aces (he tallied 29 aces in his first match of the tournament). Or players could eat the cost of Roger Federer, the most expensive player and favorite in the competition, and ride the success of the greatest men’s player of all time.
DraftKings and Niche Competitions
This isn’t the first time DraftKings has gone off the beaten path to bring variety to their users. Back in 2015, DraftKings introduced daily fantasy for the eSports competition League of Legends (LOL). Since then, they’ve had 2.5 million entries in LOL contests and project 2018 to be their most successful year yet.
While DraftKings offers the usual daily fantasy sports, but they’ve managed to separate themselves with help of their niche competitions. Both DraftKigns and rivals FanDuel offer daily fantasy in football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, golf, and motor sports, but DraftKings now holds tennis, MMA, and eSports.
They also hold sponsorships with the MLB and NHL, while FanDuel only hold the NBA (both companies have sponsorships with various NFL teams, DraftKings also partnering with the NFL Players Association).
FanDuel attempted to enter eSports back in 2015. A day after DraftKings announced their expansion into eSports, FanDuel announced the acquisition of AlphaDraft, an eSports daily fantasy website. However, the venture failed quickly for FanDuel as AlphaDraft shuttered its competitions just one year later.
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