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Ed Moed, CEO of HPL Digital Sport.
Ed Moed, CEO of HPL Digital Sport.|HPL Digital Sport
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HPL Digital Sport looks to help legacy brands and start-ups make sense of the exploding Fantasy Sports and sports betting landscape

Howard Gensler

Howard Gensler

The explosion of Fantasy sports and the legalization of sports betting have not only opened up new revenue streams for casinos and companies like DraftKings and FanDuel, they’ve created all types of cottage industries.

There are websites like Bettors Insider, Action Network and VSiN trying to help bettors make better informed wagers. There are apps like FantasyLife trying to help Fantasy players make informed roster moves. And there are dozens of stats services such as sportsdataio and Swish Analytics providing reams of information to make even the smartest sports fan smarter.

And then there are the people trying to make sense of it all.

One of those is HPL Digital Sport, a division of Hot Paper Lantern. They’re a brand marketing, communications firm seeking to help companies in the growing Fantasy Sports-sports betting universe become more relevant and help them differentiate themselves in this ever more crowded field.

“Everyone is doing a giant land grab,” said HPL Digital Sport CEO Ed Moed, in a recent phone interview. “We’re working to help FSB sites and sports books to try to figure out their slice.”

Since a brand is so important in building loyalty, Moed continued, HPL DS put together its first ever Fantasy Sports Loyalty Index and surprisingly the industry behemoths didn’t rule. Atop the index was TradeFan, which beat out DraftKings and FanDuel, and crushed last place Yahoo! Daily Fantasy.

the 2019 Fantasy Sports Loyalty Index
the 2019 Fantasy Sports Loyalty Index
HPL Digital Sport

So while the smaller TradeFan can’t compete with the big boys in terms of ad dollars and awareness, it is able to, like other smaller sites, to compete favorably in customer support, research and betting tools.

“Smaller sites can offer a more personal experience,” Moed said, “and the tools are out there now to level the playing field.”

DraftKings and FanDuel are also in expansion mode, building out online sports books, teaming with brick & mortar sports books and leaping both feet into the sports betting world. It makes sense since Moed believes sports betting could end up being 5X the size of Fantasy, but their rapid expansion could leave more room in the Fantasy space for smaller companies to operate.

“It’s going to be a bigger pie,” Moed said, “so biting off a smaller piece may still be a lot of money.”

And even with sports betting only starting to make its way across the United States, the pie is already big . . . and it’s a pie attracting the financial world’s biggest players – “VCs, hedge funds and media conglomerates,” Moed said. “The two areas where everyone is jumping in are this and CBD.”

Moed said he expects the new industry to rapidly expand as money pours in and then contract as companies merge and weaker hands are flushed out.

"Content is going to be important," he said, "and sites that can't offer more will have to partner with others to drive traffic."

Some Numbers

HPL DS lead researcher Ken Colen cited data from the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association which estimates 46 million American adults play some degree of Fantasy sports. In polling, 55% say they are very likely to bet on the NFL and 87% say they are somewhat likely to bet on the NFL.

Other FSB-sports betting tidbits:

  • 61% of TradeFan users agreed strongly that the site provided effective customer support compared to only 37% of DraftKings users.

  • 54% of bettors who frequently use RealTime Fantasy Sports believe the site provides tools that make betting easier compared to only 38% of Yahoo! Fantasy Sports users.

  • 67% of Draftboard users and 62% of TradeFan users said they were likely to recommend the websites, compared to 56% of FanDuel and DraftKings players and 51% of Yahoo Daily Fantasy Sports players who said the same.

  • 74% of TradeFan users, 65% of RealTime Fantasy Sports users and 62% of Daily Fantasy Insider users are likely to raise their betting amounts. In contrast, only 44% of FanDuel users, 40% of DraftKings users and 38% of Yahoo Fantasy Sports users said the same.

  • Young women now make up 30% of the FSB universe.

  • People who make less money, bet more.

This chart from HPL Sports looks at the likelihood that Fantasy Sports players will place a Fantasy bet on the NFL this season.
This chart from HPL Sports looks at the likelihood that Fantasy Sports players will place a Fantasy bet on the NFL this season.
HPL Digital Sport
This chart from HPL Digital Sports looks at the percentage of people who place Fantasy Sports bets online.
This chart from HPL Digital Sports looks at the percentage of people who place Fantasy Sports bets online.
HPL Digital Sport