I first heard of the Daily Fantasy Sports site “Fan Throwdown” when I was researching some stock market picks. MGT Capital Investments (MGT) purchased 63.12% of the company that owned Fan Throwdown, FanTD, for around $3 Million in a stock/cash deal back in April 2013. What struck me was the staggering price the original owners got for a website that was set up in 2011. If you were to start a daily fantasy sports website you would need to spend a ton of money, but I imagine FanTD did well by selling a majority stake to MGT.
Wanting to look into what MGT bought a little more closely I decided to deposit money on Fan Throwdown and play some MLB games. I had heard of Daily Fantasy Sports before. I was familiar with fantasy site, Draft Day, because one of it’s founders is well known in the online poker community. It’s amazing that betting on Daily Fantasy Sports is legal, in most states, but online poker has had a rough time with the law when the D.O.J. swooped in and shut down Poker Stars, Full Tilt and the like. One great thing about Daily Fantasy Sports sites, like Fan Throwdown, is that you can use PayPal to deposit and withdraw funds. There are no sketchy payment processors, like in the online poker world, to deal with in Daily Fantasy Sports…… yet.
MLB would technically be my weakest sport in terms of fantasy, but it was August and it was the only thing I could play at the moment. I found it real easy to log in, deposit and get going on Fan Throwdown. They have a MLB Tournament that only costs $0.25 cents to enter so I thought that was a great place to start since MLB is a bad sport for me. I got lucky the first few weeks of playing on Fan Throwdown. I got 1st place in a freeroll tournament they had and won the top prize of $20.00 plus a ticket to enter another $11.00 tournament. I cashed for another $15.00 in the tournament I won entry into and built a quick bankroll without risking anything. Since that time I’ve lost a dollar or two. Baseball is not a great game for me, I enjoy watching minor league baseball a lot, so I don’t get to watch that many MLB games.
During this time I was testing out Fan Throwdown I was looking into the other Daily Fantasy Sports sites to get a feel for the scripts and technology they use on their sites. Fan Throwdown does not get as much traffic as sites like, Fan Duel, Draft Kings, and Draft Day do. Fan Throwdown is at best a 4th or 5th tier fantasy site. Which makes the $3 million price tag MGT paid for 63.12% of Fan Throwdown even more staggering. Imagine what Fan Duel, Draft Kings, and Draft Day are worth?! Those other sites have also raised money from separate investors, getting multi-million dollar valuations for their businesses.
There could be many reasons why Fan Throwdown isn’t on the same level as other Daily Fantasy sites as of September 2013. For one, some of those other sites have been around longer and spend way more on advertising. But the main reason might be that Fan Throwdown’s website is weaker than Fan Duel, Draft Kings, and Draft Day. Sometimes Fan Throwdown’s lobby won’t load on certain browsers. Fan Throwdown has crashed my desktop browser at times. The stats do not update as fast as they do on other sites. While I find some of the games to have softer competition on Fan Throwdown, I would much prefer to play on another Daily Fantasy site as of now.
One positive thing about most Daily Fantasy sites, and especially Fan Throwdown, is they usually have somebody employed that is ready to live chat with you in case you have issues, questions or need information about the website. One of the FTD customer service reps said an update to the Fan Throwndown website should come soon. This was in early September so hopefully the update is significant to get them more on par with Fan Duel, Draft Kings, and Draft Day. Even if the website technology gets on par they will need to probably spend quite a bit in advertising to gain some significant market share.
It’s unclear what MGT Capital Investments has in store with Fan Throwdown. They could run it like a 4th tier Daily Fantasy site because they have other areas of the gambling business where they have a presence. They have a slot machine patent that could make them a ton of money in a settlement or a royalty play if their lawyers can win over a judge. In the Fantasy Sports business, in addition to Fan Throwdown, they purchased several Daily Fantasy websites for very small sums of money. It appears instead of keeping those websites alive they merely re-directed the sites to go to the Fan Throwdown website. Maybe not a smart idea as they could have used those websites to pimp their fantasy sports offerings on the cheap.
I’ll continue to play on Fan Throwdown and see how the experience improves. It will also be interesting to see when MGT reports earnings what kind of profit or loss a Daily Fantasy site can expect.
This review as apart of the Dr. P Daily Fantasy Sports Blog.