Saturday, October 24, 2015

Daily Fantasy Sports as an Experience

One of the reasons that Daily Fantasy Sports is under attack is that the casino lobby has a lot to lose. Revenues are way down everywhere from Atlantic City to your local Native American slots parlor.  Daily Fantasy Sports didn’t create this downslide, but they are making it steeper. And lobbying is a simple way to fight back.

But rather than fight the lobbying battle, why not create the proverbial win-win?  How? Here is my idea.  And if I can think this up in 15 minutes, imagine what the real experts should be able to come up with.

What if a casino sports bar teamed up with one of the Daily Fantasy giants like Draft Kings?  Imagine this scenario. 
  1. They co-brand a tournament to take place on a particular football Sunday (if successful, they can do it every week).  For example, the MGM Las Vegas Draft Kings football special.
  2. The contestants pick their teams in advance on Draft Kings just like they do now.
  3. On the day of the games, the contestants show up at the casino sports bar. This way, they can see each other in person, trash talk in person, watch all of the games on the sports bar big screens, all in the usual sensory overload of the casino d├ęcor.
  4. As the day rolls on, the contestants scores are tallied in real time and displayed on a big screen leaderboard. The person who is ahead at a random time can get a free shot at the bar or some other Easter Egg reward.
  5. If a contestant doesn’t want to come, they can play remotely by watching the scores online. But they would be strongly encouraged to participate in person.
  6. When the day ends, there is a big todo about the winner.  The Grand Prize is awarded with one of those big Publishers Clearinghouse checks.  Second and third place too.  All done with the normal Draft Kings prize model.
Why do I think this is a good idea?  Here is what it means for each stakeholder:
  • Draft Kings doesn’t really have to lift a finger. They already have the infrastructure for private tournaments on their web site.  Any extra business they get is icing on the cake.  Plus they get the free branding from the huge buzz at the casino and from any marketing the casino does for the competition.  All profit, little cost.
  • The casino gets the biggest boost.  Even though the entry fees go to Draft Kings, they now have dozens of extra people in the sports bar.  Paying for drinks.  Paying for food. Bringing their friends who also pay for drinks and food.  Many of whom stay after the games end (or to take a break from watching) to play some slots or table games.  And if they have a good time, come back again just to gamble. 
  • The contestants get a more visceral way to play these daily competitions than just going online and competing against random, invisible, anonymous people.  They get their names in lights.  The excitement of the live competition.  Drink and food specials.
The only problem is that you would have to cut out Monday night football.  Maybe the late Sunday night game too if the crowd doesn’t want to stay that long.  But this is small stuff.

What do you think?  Any details I missed? Potential snags?  Ideas for improvement?