It’s hard to deny that daily fantasy sports participation in 2016 was a disappointment compared to the huge breakout year in 2015. Of course, that hasn’t been a huge surprise to many — over the last year, DFS has been under a lot of pressure and has received its fair share of bad press. But according to a recent report released from Eilers & Krejcik, growth has held its own while DFS demographics have remain largely unchanged.
Despite the relative doom and gloom, the DFS industry actually experienced a 4% annual growth rate during 2016, 14% when accounting for overall revenue. And while this pales in comparison to a doubling of growth in years prior, it is a welcomed sight for many who want to see the industry succeed. Eilers & Krejcik’s Adam Krejcik noted his surprise by the figure. “I thought I’d be writing something a little more negative. So I think that speaks to the public perception; there have been quite a few articles about the death or demise of DFS, and I don’t think that’s the case.”
The DFS market is predicted to be a $4.8 billion industry by 2020, still a hefty figure but down from previous estimates which had the industry being worth $8 billion. Some states have chosen to restrict DFS contests while others have officially legalized the games – the trend appears to be on the side of regulation.
Highlights of the Eilers & Krejcik DFS Demographics and Industry Report
Some interesting points were raised in the report, some of which are familiar to observers, including some long standing demographic challenges.
Daily fantasy sports continues to be a niche game – Compared to season-long fantasy sports, which maintains a wide appeal, DFS has feel short by comparision. It is estimated that nearly 60 million people play fantasy sports while less than 10 million have migrated over to DFS. And that number is probably a lot less for active players.
Daily fantasy sports is still dominated by males – Males continue to dominate the daily fantasy sports world with females now compromising 5% of all players. This figure is actually up from an earlier report which estimated around 2% female participation. This figure still pales in comparison to the share of NFL fans (45%) and fantasy sports participants (30%) that are female.
For now DFS participants fit the certain stereotype: white male, usually around 25-35 years old and one that considers themselves either analytical or a sports fanatic.
Less emphasis is being put on large GPP contests – To start the 2015 NFL season, DraftKings and FanDuel sought to impress players with headline grabbing prize pools. As the season wore on and the industry faced outside pressure, prize pools came down. DraftKings’ largest contest, the Millionaire Maker, has offered similarly sized contests compared to the last half of 2015, while FanDuel’s Sunday Million has consistently been lower over the same time period.
Growth is likely to continue to be relatively flat – The Eilers & Krejcik report predicts that daily fantasy is unlikely to grow at the rate predicted a couple years ago. Instead, growth is much more likely to be reminiscent of the pace the industry saw over 2016.