The battle for fantasy esports heats up as FanDuel acquires AlphaDraft
Daily fantasy sports giant FanDuel has acquired Alphadraft, one of the leading fantasy esports platforms. Former NBA commissioner David Stern, who invested in Alphadraft as part of a $5 million in funding, revealed the company had been acquired in an interview with Forbes hours before the official announcement.
Labelling the move an “acqui-hire,” FanDuel will bring the Alphadraft team in-house to continue development of the esports platform, but now with the full backing of one of the biggest companies in the fantasy industry.
Details on what exactly that means for users of the platform are still sketchy. Will the Alphadraft platform remain its own portal, or merge into the existing FanDuels site?
FanDuel CEO and co-founder Nigel Eccles calls the acquisition a “win-win.”
“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,” he said. “This is sports for a new demographic.”
The demographics behind esports—and esports betting—are certainly impressive. The site Legal Sports Report, which monitors the fantasy sports industry, recently detailed the potential growth of the esports betting market, estimating that fans wagered over $250 million this year. And that number will only grow, reaching an estimated $23 billion by 2020.
In some ways that’s hard to believe, but the nascent fantasy esports and betting industries have exploded in a big way this year. Alphadraft received $5 million in funding earlier this year while competitor Vulcun took in $12 million in investments. And it’s clearly paying off.
Now the two players in the fantasy sports market are involved. That’s big news in a week of big news for esports. Yesterday, Turner Broadcasting, a major U.S. television network revealed plans to host and broadcast a professional esports league.
Whether esports wagers top billions and billions of dollars in a few years or not, it’s clear that esports is quickly getting too big to ignore.
Image via FanDuel