DraftKings downplays major Week 1 overlay, launches new fantasy stats app

draftkings-dk-live-fantasy-appThe CEO of daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings is once again musing publicly about a merger with archrival FanDuel.

On Monday, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins visited the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, confirming that his company continues to discuss the possibility of a union with FanDuel, although he qualified that the talks were “on and off” and no such deal was imminent.

Robins used his TechCrunch appearance to debut a new technical tool for users to track their fantasy activity. The DK Live app (currently available only for iOS) is a real-time NFL news aggregator that displays stats on all league players as well as costuming the feed to focus on players on your DraftKings roster. An Android version is in the pipeline and DraftKings plans to add other sports to the app in due course.

This weekend marked the return of NFL DFS action, and DraftKings’ marquee NFL guarantee prize pool fell well short of filling. The site dropped the entry fee for its $5m Millionaire Maker to a player-friendly $3, but the site ended up having to cover a significant overlay. The site plans to reinstate the marquee contest’s $20 entry fee for Week 2.

Fully embracing the Pee Wee Herman ‘I meant to do that’ ethos, DraftKings senior VP Jason Alderman told Forbes’ Daniel Heitner that the overlay exemplified how the site was “redeploying marketing dollars,” pointing to this year’s restrained volume of TV commercials compared to last year’s blitz. While the Milly Maker was a money pit, Alderman emphasized that DraftKings’ heads-up contests enjoyed three times the volume than last year’s Week 1.

DraftKings is also enjoying a fresh revenue stream from marketing partnerships, although not from bog-standard banner ads. DraftKings’ VP of new media Corey Gottlieb recently told Bloomberg that the site has already inked a dozen advertising clients and is negotiating similar deals with three or four times more companies.

Gottlieb said the site was steering these clients toward “customized integration,” including tournament sponsorship and co-produced videos, while avoiding “traditional interruptive advertising that would be harmful to our users.”