DFS Heads Down Under

US-based DraftKings plans to offer its daily fantasy sports contests in Australia.

We have written previously about the ever-growing popularity of daily fantasy sports (DFS). The idea has already grown from its original base in the United States to take in Indian Premier League cricket. And now it looks as though Aussie rules football and the Big Bash (Twenty20 cricket) could be next on the agenda, as US firm Draft Kings plans to start offering Australian sports fans DFS contests from the second quarter of this year.

What is DFS?

DFS is the fastest growing sector of the fantasy sports games market. Traditionally, players created their own fantasy teams, choosing players from different teams within a sport and operating under a salary cap and competing over a season. The problem was that too many players lost interest when they had no chance of winning halfway through the season. DFS contests take place over a single day or – as happens with American football, for example – over a weekend. That way, all the players are involved all the time – and they don’t have to wait six or nine months for a result.

DraftKings gets license

Draft Kings confirmed that it has been granted a license by the Northern Territory Racing Commission, allowing it to offer DFS contests throughout Australia.

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said: “Australia is an important market for DraftKings, as it combines devoted sports fans with sophisticated tech-savvy consumers – exactly the sort of people who love competing on DraftKings.”

Big Bash and Aussie Rules

The Big Bash is Australia’s answer to the Indian Premier League (IPL) and is probably the second most successful T20 cricket competition after the IPL. There are eight teams covering all the major cities in the country, featuring the top Australian players and the “hired guns” brought in from around the world. The most recent competition – won by the Adelaide Strikers – lasted from mid-December to early February and attracted a paying audience of 1.14 million spectators, plus huge TV audiences.

Australian Rules Football is even more popular. It might look an incomprehensible game to most of us, but the Australians love it. The season runs from March to September with 18 teams taking part. Average attendances are around 50% higher than attendances at the Big Bash, with the Grand Final attracting a crowd in excess of 100,000.

With two sports like that and – as Jason Robins says – passionate fans who are already used to betting on their mobiles, it’s little wonder that DraftKings has identified Australia as the ideal place to expand.

DraftKings isn’t stopping there…

Australia marks the company’s first move outside North America and Europe, and it appears that the expansion may not stop there. We wrote yesterday about UK bookmaker Paddy Power’s plans to expand into US sports betting, should the Supreme court give it the green light, and it appears that DraftKings have similar plans, following the recent creation of a US-facing sportsbook department.

Robins also said: “Within a few years Australia’s growing sports market has dramatically evolved, adding a variety of daily sports platforms and feeding the appetite of passionate sports fans who love getting closer to the teams, athletes and sports they love.”


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