It’s time to say it – Daily Fantasy Sports is probably the next big thing. With one foot in sports betting and the other in fantasy sports, DFS is exciting. Just ask the dozens of angel investors writing checks as fast as they can.
At the time of this review, FanDuel and DraftKings are the big names in the DFS industry. They’ve attracted the most investors and currently have the biggest number of active users.
FantasyDraft.com is the up-and-comer; where once FanDuel and DraftKings were on the outside looking in, they now have FantasyDraft.com in their rearview mirror and it looks like they could definitely shake up the competition in the coming years.
Basics about FantasyDraft.com
FantasyDraft is currently in a beta release – “beta” means that it’s an early version of software that’s less proven and likely to change pretty drastically in the next edition.
The brainchild of fantasy sports fans in North Carolina, where the company is headquartered, FantasyDraft is an active member of the FSTA. In these early days of DFS activity, adherence to the FSTA rules and regulations is the best indication that a site is operating legitimately.
Among other things, FSTA membership requires FantasyDraft.com to follow certain rules about player accounts and to be in compliance with the UIGEA and other anti-gambling laws.
Bonuses & Promotions at FantasyDraft.com
The referral program mentioned above pays 10% of all contest fees to the referring customer. Unlike other referral programs, the referrer earns 10% of the fees from anyone who signed up in their “referral tree.” Players can earn referral cash up to “six degrees” away from their initial referral, increasing the amount of referral cash available six-fold.
FantasyDraft.com indicates that deposit bonuses will be available once the site opens, but at the time of this review the details weren’t available. Since FantastyDraft.com is just about to launch, most of their promotional material at this stage is focused on attracting new players with big prizes.
To that end, FantasyDraft is offering a total of $400,000 in guaranteed prizes on their first weekend of operation in December 2014. This big injection of guaranteed prize cash into the fantasy sports betting industry is designed to help FantasyDraft.com make an early name for itself.
Any customer age 18 or older (19 in Alabama and Nebraska) can make a legal cash deposit after they create an account and agree to the terms of service. At the time of this review, players from Quebec, Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, and Washington are disallowed from joining while some legal issues due to local laws are sorted out.
Outside of those restrictions, anyone can join and make a deposit via PayPal or major credit/debit card. Other banking methods are not yet listed, though the site promises to be as varied as the bigger names in the industry when it comes to financial transactions.
We’re still early enough in the coming DFS revolution that simply providing daily fantasy sports for real cash wagers is a feature in and of itself. For some DFS fans, the fact that FantasyDraft isn’t DraftKings or FanDuel may be appealing – the newness of the service and the fact that they host a ton of different DFS contests with big prizes are major features at this early stage.
A heavily-advertised feature is the referral program, at this time the most lucrative in the DFS industry. It’s simple – customers get a customized referral link they can give to friends. The referrer earns 10% of all the fees paid into the system by the people they refer. Referral points follow a “six degrees of separation” rule (which we go into in more detail about later) that makes the program more enticing.
The brains behind FantasyDraft have gone out of their way to make endorsement deals with athletes to push their product. At this time, ex-players like Drew Brees and Boomer Esiason have joined up with current players Jordy Nelson and T.Y. Hilton to promote the site.
This may not sound like much of a feature, but it will drive a lot of attention to the service. How do these endorsements compare to the big guys? Both DraftKings and FanDuel have bigger and better endorsements, to be sure. But for a beta release to have signed big names like Jimmy Johnson to endorse their product is gutsy, and you have to respect that.
Design & Navigation
Right now, pointing your browser at the site will land you on an ad-heavy splash page with endorsement videos and very large fonts. It’s annoying after the first visit – luckily, once a customer joins they can access the service without landing on the splash page.
The site is pretty to look at, using muted grey and blue colors and black text against a plain white background. It looks a lot like an Apple-designed iPhone app. Contests are easy to find because of an intuitive filtering system that can guess what you’re looking for while you type, like adding movies to your Netflix queue.
This site definitely gets high marks for navigation, since contests are just a click or a search away from any page on the main site.
Bottom line, FantasyDraft.com is not a real challenger to the fantasy sports throne – at least not yet. That space is still being fought over by DraftKings and FanDuel. It’s young, the software is in a beta release, and there’s no way of knowing whether referral promotions and athlete endorsements will catapult the service onto the same tier as the big boys.
FantasyDraft.com is competitive with other fantasy sports services in some areas. The availability and variety of fantasy contests is on par with the big boys, as are its financial department and the overall look and feel of the site.
FantasyDraft is available on mobile browsers, so it has the kind of versatility that today’s customers want. If it can compete with the existing customer bases at FanDuel and DraftKings, it could be an exciting new market for fantasy sports betting.