If you listened closely to your TV or radio during the weeks leading up to week 1 of the NFL regular season then you may have heard many ads pumping daily fantasy sports. It sounds like so much fun, log in, deposit some money via PayPal, and play real money daily fantasy sports. Hey, if you didn’t get Calvin Johnson in your buddies fantasy draft, you can play him every week in daily leagues. And win some cash. Sounds freaking awesome.
Perhaps some of the daily fantasy sites should have saved some money on the advertisements, and used it to develop a better web experience. Popular site Fan Duel was stat-less during most of the week 1 NFL action, and there were times the website didn’t even load. Draft Kings fared a little bit better, but even that site will crash, and the stats can lag at times. Smaller site Fan Throwdown had much less traffic then maybe they even expected. Many of the bigger week 1 daily games on Fan Throwdown were barely half full. On Saturday, Fan Throwdown didn’t even offer NCAA Football because they couldn’t get the salaries correct in time.
What can players in daily leagues take from these websites choking during the biggest week of the NFL season? The daily fantasy sites probably don’t make much money, or any at all. They blew a ton on advertising only to see their websites crumble under the traffic. Granted, I couldn’t get Yahoo’s “Stat Tracker” to load on my desktop for some of week 1 either. But let’s be clear, Yahoo makes billions of dollars doing a bunch of other stuff. These daily fantasy sites are under more pressure to preform than Yahoo is. Part of the fun in playing fantasy sports is watching the stats. Not everyone has 8 TV’s set up with DirecTV Sunday Ticket or the Red Zone package. Most people rely on the internet to track games and see the stats they need in real time. The daily fantasy sites would be better served providing a great experience tracking the stats during the games. If they did that, the word would travel fast to play on that site.
As a result of some of the website failures, I didn’t get involved in very much week 1 action. I wonder how many people will now be turned off from the experience of playing because many of the daily fantasy sites fared so horribly in week 1 of NFL action. One issue with these sites is that all their revenue is tied to a big NFL Sunday. They are unlike online poker rooms where games are happening all the time. If a poker site crashes for a few hours they can just pick up the pieces and the games will roll on. With daily fantasy sites, the way they make money is tied to the start of pro sports games. While they have the luxury of daily MLB & NBA games, the cash cow NFL only gives daily fantasy sites a small window to rake in cash. Instead of blowing a ton of money on ads, get the websites running as close to 100% as possible.