DraftKings punts on season-long fantasy sports

Daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings is gearing up to start running “all season long.”

DraftKings punts on season-long fantasy sportsAfter making its mark among the leaders in the “daily” variety, the DFS operator is now dipping their toes into the much larger season-long fantasy sports market.

DraftKings on Sunday introduced a new feature, called Leagues, which allows players to set up private groups and create recurring contests. The “season-long” phrase may sound strange at first, especially for the Boston-based operator that made its name as a daily fantasy sports provider—one that offers a weekly alternative to traditional fantasy sports.

DraftKings co-founder and COO Paul Liberman told Yahoo Finance that the platform already has an option that lets users create contests and invite friends to play in it, although “it was buried, and really difficult to use.”

Between the two, FanDuel was the first to debut a season-long product. Earlier this month, the DFS operator announced the same kind of feature called Friends Mode around the same time it unveiled a corporate rebrand in time for the upcoming NFL season.

FanDuel’s Friends Mode allows users to build a separate contest pool involving just their friends. But while it is billed as “a new way to play season-long fantasy,” the product appears to be a series of traditional week-long contests that extends through the entire NFL season.

FanDuel may be the first to introduce a season-long feature, but DraftKings already beat them when it comes to launching the actual product. DraftKings Leagues will launch on Tuesday, whereas FanDuel is waiting for the start of the NFL season before rolling out Friends Mode.

Liberman, however, said DraftKings’ goal is to have a product that complements season-long fantasy, not compete with it.

“I think the functionality and the providers in season-long are kind of ingrained. We want to be something that people also do, in addition to season-long. We want to expand on season-long, make it more fun, more social, but at the end of the day, people have their season-long leagues they’ve been doing for 20 years, they like the draft experience, the snake draft, and they’re going to keep doing that on other platforms. We’re not trying to compete with those,” the DraftKings executive said, according to the news outlet.