A few weeks ago it looked nearly hopeless for former players of insolvent daily fantasy sports site FantasyUp. Now the best news possible greeted these players on Wednesday — a group from the turnkey iTeam Network have acquired FantasyUp, which has lead to the restoring of balances and quite possibly given players a new reason to keep playing on the site.
Through a official press release, the iTeam Network announced that it will not only restore funds of thousands of player accounts, but also provide a new platform for players to play.
A view of the new FantasyUp lobby:
Restored balances will be based on the figures that were present in FantasyUp accounts at the time the site shut down in January. Hunterton, who spoke with Daily Fantasy Sports Codes on Wednesday, says that pending bonuses are not part of the bailout.
What is the iTeam Network?
The iTeam Network, is a collection of 12 turnkey DFS sites which share a unified platform and player pool. In its most high profile brand partnership last month, iTeam announced they had agreed to terms with poker pro Phil Ivey’s DFS site, aptly named PhilIveyDFS.
iTeam’s turnkey platform was created to remove the barriers of entry for aspiring daily fantasy sports operators by providing a DFS platform with an existing player pool. Other services provided by iTeam Network include software, security as well as customer and marketing support.
iTeam – Somebody to Count On?
Unlike the former FantasyUp, which seemed to be a relatively small operation, iTeam boasts a staff of over 50 employees. They launched in 2013, according to the official iTeam website.
The executive staff of iTeam includes veterans of the gaming industry. CEO Gabe Hunterton alone has over 16 years experience in the gaming industry, including a notable stay as Deputy Chief Operating Offer of Galaxy Macau, the 5th most profitable casino in the world.
iTeam believes that the FantasyUp acquisition represents a commitment to the DFS industry.
“Paying back FantasyUp players was the key component in this deal. This is not only important to the individual players, whose balances were at risk, but it’s also important in establishing iTeam Network as a trusted operator in the Daily Fantasy Sports industry.”
Hunterton said that “responsible banking practices” are important to iTeam. Those practices include ensuring the player funds are never commingled with other funds. Like much of the rest of the industry, Hunterton also believes that regulating the daily fantasy industry is in the best interests of players and operators. He believes iTeam is “ideally suited to operate in that environment.”
Will Players Stay at the New FantasyUp?
After players activate their new accounts, funds will immediately be available for withdrawal to either Paypal or check after verification of their account. “Once FantasyUp customers activate their accounts, the funds will be immediately available for withdrawal, although we do hope they will give us a chance to win their trust and loyalty by playing in our contests.”
After months of delayed payments — not to mention a couple weeks where players assumed they would not be paid — FantasyUp players are understandably anxious about being reunited with their funds.
Hunterton told Daily Fantasy Sports Codes that they “look forward to earning players’ trust and business.” He couldn’t speak to the care that other daily fantasy sports sites take to segregating funds but stated that iTeam’s financial safety mechanisms for player funds are “very good.”
So what is the new FantasyUp like? The first thing will players will notice is an increase in prize pools. With it’s 12 partnered sites working together to add liquidity, it currently ranks just outside of the top 10 according to LSR’s Site Standings. But iTeam has only been offering real money contests for 5 months, during which time they have seen significant growth, a trend which could continue if more partners are added.
The new FantasyUp currently offer contests for the NFL, NBA, and MLB. Guaranteed prize pool contests during the NFL season reached as high as $30,000 while top NBA prize pools have recently been increased to $1,000-$2,000, with the introduction of FantasyUp to the network.
Hunterton also made a point to emphasize the platform’s user experience, highlighted by the patented “Sweat List,” which allows participants to monitor players to root for and against players across multiple live contests. Other notable player features on the iTeam platform include custom lineup names to manage lineups as well as a projected points and projected winnings view.
Although iTeam Network sites are widely available in the United States, iTeam and FantasyUp currently restrict players who reside in 13 states and a Canadian province: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Lousiana, Montana, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Texas, Vermont, Washington and Quebec.