FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles has admitted the daily fantasy sports (DFS) operator made a mistake in focusing too heavily on the prospect of players winning big money regarding its TV advertising at the start of last year’s NFL regular season.
It has been viewed that a heavy amount of advertising from FanDuel and DraftKings potentially led to the consequent scrutiny of DFS by Attorneys General in various states, with iSpot’s data showing that the two operators spent a combined $64.9m on ads for NFL broadcasts between 10 September and 10 October last year.
Eccles told Business Insider: "I think last year we probably focused too much on money. I think we probably were too narrow in what we were marketing.
“We really struggled — we knew players were saying, 'Hey, this product is really exciting, it’s a lot of fun, that’s why I play it.' And we said, 'OK, how do we put that in an ad?' I don’t think we were successful there last year. The other reason people loved playing was the prospect and the excitement of winning money, and we focused too much on that. That was definitely a mistake."
Eccles also opened up on how FanDuel is attempting to offer chances for less experienced players to win money, stating: “One of our marketing guys likes to say that if I’m a nine-minute miler, I want to go in against other nine-minute milers, not a five-minute miler. So what we’ve been doing is putting things in like beginning leagues, where only beginners can play.
“We’ve also been clearly marking the experienced players so you can identify them. If you want to play against them, sure. But we’re also doing a lot of research and education so that if you’re a new player, we want you to get better. That’s a key part of the product."
A change in advertising strategy this year has been noticeable, with a recent ad showing sports fans in various environments cheering while watching events, and no mention of potential financial gain is made.
“Given that we have the awareness, we won't have the frequency [of ads] we had last year," Eccles said.
Fantasy sports are now legal in nine US states, including New York and Colorado.