Daily Fantasy Sports kingpin DraftKings has ended their affiliation with six major eSports organisations according to a report published by the Daily Dot.
As I watched Match of the Day last night, I couldn’t help but notice that DraftKings had arrived in the UK with aplomb, as the flashing billboards at the Emirates and Anfield sent the name of the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) kingpin into the minds of the masses.
Unfortunately, things aren’t going as tickety-boo in the eSports industry. According to the Daily Dot, DraftKings appears to have severed ties with the six major eSports outfits it inked deals with last September. Sports management agency WME|IMG help broker a multi-million dollar contract between DraftKings and Cloud9, Team SoloMid, Counter Logic Gaming, compLexity Gaming, mouseports and SK Gaming. All existence of DraftKings has been wiped from those particular slates.
The Daily Dot could not obtain an official response from DraftKings before the publication of their piece. However, Legal Sports Report did:
“Our partnerships in the growing eSports field have been rewarding, and we value our continued relationships with these businesses. We remain committed to offering exciting eSports DFS contests through the DraftKings platform and will continue to explore opportunities accordingly.”
So that tells us nothing then.
You could argue that DraftKings had only dipped a big toe in the eSports water after their interest only went as far as League of Legends. I see this as a minor blip. As eSports grows so will the opportunity for DFS.
The Daily Dot report suggests money is the core of the issue. DraftKings have been embroiled in some much publicised legal spats in Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New York and Texas. All those states believe DFS is illegal, and it’s costing a pretty penny trying to prove otherwise. That same report suggests DraftKings has also cut down on its expenditure in the NFL and NBA.
The same is not true in the UK as DraftKings begin their invasion. They have launched a website dedicated to the greatest sport in the world called DraftKingsFC.com and are running a series of ads with former Wigan star Jimmy Bullard featuring in their #BeatTheBulldog feature, where Bullard is taught how to play DFS by an actor called Jamie.