The bold reconstruction of 21st century sports and its shot gun marriage to “Fantasy” gambling…
New Realities for sponsors, teams, equity holders and sports fans due to fantasy league “entertainment” websites are in the pipeline. In 2006, the USA, passed a federal law exempting fantasy sports from a long standing law, built to prevent online financial wagering. Now like most industries ($$$) the world of fantasy sports has been rapidly evolving.
Instead of a group of high school kids, sitting around in their parents’ garages’ with a chalk board and some potato chips, picking their favorite players, creating a secret society of healthy competition. We’ve now seen this, formally known as a “non-aggressive” form of fan interaction, be strategically manipulated into a multi-million dollar WWW.BOOMTOWN.COM.
As we have all seen in the past, there are many ways to limbo under the loopholes of strictly intended laws and regulations. I mean, if money makes world go round, than surely we will find a way to squeeze a dollar through a small crack in the system.
This is what has been done by popular gaming websites like FanDuel and Draftkings who have dominated the fantasy online movement. These companies have rapidly gained backing from major entertainment corporations such as Google Capital, 21st Century Fox and Time Warner Investments. Now with these Industry leaders backing the websites, the opportunity for a maximum return on advertisement/sponsorship ($$$) has grown at a beastly rate.
Although controversy over the “entertainment” websites have been buzzing. It has not stopped almost all of our favorite professional sports teams and properties from joining this sponsorship platform. All parties are using this interactive traffic to enhance brand awareness and engage their fan base. It has been documented that in the NFL alone, 28 out of the 32 teams are on the list of official sponsors, claiming one site or the other as official sponsors.
Commonly asked questions by critics:
“Is this going to change the future of American Sports?”
“What will become of the classic relationship between fans, their chosen Team and preferred leagues.
While it may be too soon to truly answer these questions, especially from a non-biased point of view, here is what we do know.
The partnerships do not come without strict rules: for example when the NBA became an equity investor in FanDuel, they simultaneously developed a policy declaring that all NBA personnel (employees and players) are strictly prohibited from taking part in any NBA fantasy leagues. Now this raises the point that there is definitely a brazen conflict of interest when it comes to the union. All other professional and collegiate leagues have followed suit, on both a partnership platform as well as developing strategic policies for staff/players in regards to interaction with the sites.
All controversy aside, statistics show that once a fan is engaged and starts playing FanDuel/Draft Kings, they consume an average of 40% more sports content overall, through multiple outlets. This significantly increases value for the sponsorship dollars and advertising reach. Many industries/preferred partners are soaking up this exposure with open arms and no SPF.
For the Industry at large, Integrity will take a back seat for the time being, allowing the continued growth and reward for the cash cow. Although this continued success will not come without controversy, with the support of all heavy hitting industry players, sports leagues and entertainment enterprises. We can expect to see this trend only become a bigger topic at the forefront of our industry in the years to come.