Is this just fantasy?

Katy Micallef 2 years ago
Is this just fantasy?

Araz Heydariyehzadeh is Chief Commercial Officer at Scout Gaming, says that fantasy sports provides operators with the potential to acquire, retain and cross-sell players at scale without having to invest in multi-million-dollar marketing campaigns.

Watching the legal online sports betting market roll out across the US has been absolutely fascinating. From the speed at which states have embraced regulation to the wave of M&A activity that it has triggered, the past two years have been transformative to say the least.

Perhaps one of the biggest trends to emerge from the “gold rush” has been just how deep into their pockets operators have been willing to dig to fund multi-million-dollar marketing and player acquisition campaigns as they look to leverage the first-mover advantage in each state.

But one of the biggest lessons learned to date is that spending your way to market dominance does not work with a growing number of tier-one brands now tightening their purse strings.

That is because there is a difference between spending big and spending smart. While working with superstar celebrities and offering crazy bonuses works to some extent for near-term acquisition and retention, long-term brand loyalty can only be achieved in other ways.

One of these ways is to launch fantasy sports products to players both in regulated states and those that have yet to join the party.

Fantasy sports for acquisition

Fantasy sports is a powerful acquisition product, and especially in the US market where it was the precursor to legal sports betting. It is a great tool for introducing players to real-money sports betting through a format that is more casual and that they are more familiar with.

Fantasy sports also allows operators to run contests with life-changing prize pools which can be used to drive acquisition campaigns. Prize pools in excess of $1m generate the most player interest, but this cost pales when compared to the multi-million-dollar campaigns that have been run to date.

Marketers can also use fantasy to offer players more valuable bonuses and to differentiate. For example, we have recorded cases where the addition of a targeted fantasy bonus such as a free entry ticket being added to a CRM email reactivation campaign has generated impressive returns.

In one instance, the click-through rate was 25x the average and in another case, 2,000 inactive customers were reactivated within 24 hours of the email campaign being sent out. The same strategy can also be applied to acquisition campaigns, with the same CTRs achievable.

Fantasy sports for retention

When it comes to retention it is hard to beat fantasy sports. The very nature of the game requires players to return to the sportsbook each match day for the full eight months of the season. In the case of DFS, players can and do return to the site daily.

Our latest data shows that the average user logs in four times a week to make changes to their team. This in part helps to drive some spectacular stats for our partners.

According to the indexed numbers of users in the Scout Network, there are clear indicators that fantasy sports (and especially season games) have a significant benefit when it comes to both user acquisition and retention.

  • Churn after 12 months = 30% still active
  • Churn after 24 months = 20% still active
  • Churn on season-long fantasy tournament players = 50% still active in month nine
  • Acquisition = +15% more players on a yearly basis after launching fantasy sports
  • Time spent on site = fantasy players spend 20%+ more time than regular sportsbook players


Fantasy for cross-sell

Not only does fantasy help drive acquisition and retention, but it allows operators to cross-sell players to and from their sportsbooks.

Sportsbooks can expect anywhere between 10% and 30% of their player base to engage with fantasy sports which in turn can significantly move the needle in terms of turnover and GGR without the need, expense and risk of having to acquire new bettors.

We have measured 45% increases in turnover and 20%+ increases in GGR on our partner’s sportsbook users that engaged with our fantasy sports products compared to those that didn’t.

There is considerable overlap in the demographics of fantasy players and sports bettors which is why there is a strong argument for operators, and especially those looking to offer differentiated products for user acquisition and/or increase yield from existing players, to consider fantasy.

With a growing number of operators reassessing their marketing spend as they seek a more sensible and sustainable ROI on their marketing dollars, integrating fantasy sports into their books should be a top priority.



Join us in Belgrade, Serbia from the 22-25th August:

 The Balkans have been sought after by both tasteful tourists and entrepreneurs with an eye on the growing iGaming ecosystem calling the region home. As the home to the global Gambling community, the SiGMA Conference is known far and wide for its enlightening panels, inspiring speeches, ample opportunities to invest and network, and the ability to do it all while having the time of your life. Join us in Belgrade for the best the industry has to offer and for a window into the future of worldwide gambling. To learn more about sponsorship and speaking opportunities or to inquire about attending the event, please contact Sophie at [email protected].

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