New DFS Platform Draftboard Launches
It’s becoming increasingly less common for new players to get in the game that is the booming daily fantasy sports industry, but Draftboard aims to do just that.
While the industry might be surging in terms of prominence and revenues, the daily fantasy sports (DFS) marketplace itself is not exactly flush with new blood – or more by way of competition – being dominated by the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel. Those two prominent operators, outside of a smattering of smaller DFS providers like Yahoo Sports and FantasyDraft, pretty much are the entire US daily fantasy industry. There are several reasons for this phenomenon, but the main one has to be the comparative lack of innovation: most operators from small to mid-size generally stick to the formula laid out by DraftKings and FanDuel.
Draftboard, founded by pro poker player Phil Galfond and company CEO Dan Quinn, looks to shake up that paradigm by launching their new product with some truly novel ideas, including two unique systems aimed at ensuring more parity for players and providing a more dynamic player experience. That said, Draftboard doesn’t pour out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to industry staples like the salary cap model first pioneered by FanDuel nearly 10 years ago, but there are some wrinkles – Draftboard calls them improvements – that make the new offering work a little bit better than its predecessors.
First up, there is Draftboard’s interesting take on entry into DFS contests, which the company runners have named FairMatch. This system works similarly to the usual process or selecting a lineup of athletes within the parameters of the salary cap, but things start to differ when it comes time to actually enter a contest in that Draftboard separates lobbies into high- and low-stakes varieties. This prevents players from entering $50 contests and $1 contests on the same day, especially when combined with FairMatch’s real ace in the hole, a random opponent selection program and a system that matches first-time entrants with other first-time entrants, second-timers with second-timers and so on.
The end result is that Draftboard DFS contests are as close to even as humanly (or in this case computer-ly) possible, and that’s a huge win for players of all skill levels. Newer players can gain more experience without risking as much money after a blowout loss to a veteran, and more experienced players can now be assured that they’re truly testing their skills against other seasoned DFS-ers.
The second big innovation Draftboard brings to the table is more stylistic than strictly practical, but it’s liable to have a big impact on first-time and casual players, to say nothing of the public perception of the “new kid on the block” in the DFS world. Draftboard Live eschews the established model of simple text and point updates used by practically everybody else in the segment in favor of something much more dynamic – animated visualizations of the on-field feats of your lineup’s chosen athletes updated in real time. These features are more than just nice touches, they may be the key to cracking into a DFS market effectually crowded out, not by a proliferation of competitors but merely by big names.
Disruption seems to be the idea all along. This emphasis on upsetting the standing order is further indicated by Draftboard’s launch promo: the “Dollar and Dream” promo is one of the boldest to come along in a long time, automatically entering new sign-ups into a Record Breaker promotion that awards players $10,000 anytime somebody breaks the NFL points record. That first payout is coming soon too, as company founder Galfond said in the Draftboard debut release that “the current Draftboard NFL record is zero. Someone is winning $10,000 on Sunday.”
Draftboard isn’t without its disadvantages though. At this time, Draftboard is focusing strictly on the NFL when it comes to DFS contest offering at this point, though showrunners have supposedly got plans in place to bring NBA contests online by the time the pro basketball season starts in about month or so. Perhaps the biggest fault we can point out is that it isn’t as widely available as its competitors at this point, making residents from Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Lousiana, Montana, Nevada, New York, Texas, Vermont Virginia or Washington.
However, these drawbacks aren’t sticking points, and may well turn out to be teething issues no worse than any other new entry into the DFS field. Draftboard has the raw materials and forward-thinking philosophy to make it as the next big thing in the daily fantasy landscape, and may well carve out for itself a sizeable market share in sports betting states, but only time will tell. At any rate, this new development certainly makes the ongoing discussion about legal daily fantasy sites more interesting to follow for sports fans and industry analysts alike.