Up Close with FanDuel
By David Dodds
August 16th, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, Footballguys.com announced a deal with FanDuel.com where you can get a FREE Footballguys Insider Subscription by just depositing $25 with them. To take advantage of the offer, please use this link.

In an effort to get to know FanDuel.com, we sat down with Nigel Eccles FanDuel CEO and Co-founder, Tom Griffiths VP of Product and Co-founder, Cameron Boal Head of Affiliates, and Geoff Bough Head of Business Development
and asked them a few questions.

What is FanDuel?

Nigel Eccles: FanDuel is the leading operator of daily fantasy sports games. Daily fantasy is exactly the same as traditional fantasy only the contests only last one day. Pick a team of players under the salary cap, enter a contest, watch the live scoring and if your players deliver the goods your prize money will be placed in your account the very next day. You can enter 2, 5, 10, 25 and 100+ player leagues as well as major tournaments with thousands of players. Entry fees range from $1 to $500, and we also frequently offer free-to-enter contests.

Are daily games legal?

Nigel: Daily fantasy sports games operate under exactly the same laws as traditional fantasy sports. At a federal level, FanDuel is compliant with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA 2006) which specifically exempted fantasy sports from that legislation. At a State level, fantasy sports are generally considered a contest of skill and therefore not gambling. Note, some states have laws that are hostile to fantasy sports and therefore we don't take real money players from those states. They are Arizona, Maryland, Montana, Louisiana, Iowa and Vermont. A law has just been passed to make fantasy sports legal in Maryland, and therefore we will be able to take real money players from that state starting October 2nd, 2012. For more on the legality of FanDuel and fantasy sports click here.

How big is this company? (revenues, employees, payouts, # of accounts, etc).

Nigel: FanDuel was launched in the summer of 2009 and has grown rapidly. We now have around 35 employees with our headquarters in New York and a development office in the UK. In 2011 we did just over $10m in total entry fees and we are on track to do over $50m in 2012. We now have over 200,000 registered users. The company has raised over $7m in venture capital investment, principally from Pentech Ventures, Piton Capital and Bullpen Capital.

Describe FanDuel's vision in the daily game space. What separates them from the other companies offering daily games?

Nigel: We focus on delivering three things to our users:

  • The biggest prize pools and the most liquidity
  • The best software and innovation
  • An unmatched customer experience
  • We became the largest daily fantasy site about 18 months ago and have continued to invest to maintain and extend our lead. Being the biggest means we can offer the best variety of leagues with the biggest prize pools. We now have a 15-person product and engineering team focused on building what we believe is the best product in the market. We were the first site to launch a fully functional mobile optimized site and were the first to launch 50/50 leagues. Lastly, to deliver a great customer experience we have a 5-person customer service team in-house focused on giving fast and accurate responses to queries, whether they come by phone, email or live chat.

    Talk a little about your software and the development team.

    Tom Griffiths: FanDuel has been in development for over three years and as such is a highly sophisticated web application. Building a reliable daily fantasy sports site is a significant technical challenge given the large amounts of cash and entries flowing through the system every day. We've put a lot of work into ensuring we can cope with that as we scale up. We also focus on making the site easy to use for new players. A more recent initiative has been the mobile version of our website which allows people to track their scores and enter and edit their teams on the go - our players love that. We have an experienced product and engineering team of 15 people working hard to make the game experience better for our players, and looking forward to more exciting developments over the coming months.

    How fast are payouts?

    Cameron Boal: Contests are always settled the same day so you'll see the payouts in your account the same day. Cash outs from accounts take a maximum of 48 hours but are normally a lot faster.

    Prize pool protection for the players?

    Nigel: All player money is kept separate from the company's operational money. When we entered the industry we were really shocked that this measure isn't completely standard. Additionally, having raised two rounds of venture investment the company has gone through extensive due diligence to ensure that its checks and controls are robust.

    Why partner with Footballguys?

    Cameron: We feel that Footballguys are the leader in the fantasy football information space and we at FanDuel are the biggest in the daily fantasy space. I feel that both companies share similar goals and hold ourselves to the same high standards. We both strive to give our customers the best product, the best service and the best overall experience. It's important for us that we trust the people and sites we work with and we definitely have that with Joe and David. Both Joe and David really understand what FanDuel is trying to achieve and they understand our vision for daily fantasy and that is hugely important to us.

    Naturally we are huge fans of Footballguys and believe that their standard subscription price of $28.95 is an awesome value. Our deal just makes it even more of a no-brainer because for just a $25 deposit on FanDuel you get a year's subscription to Footballguys Insider for free. And even if you've already bought your subscription, you can get an extra year added with your deposit. There is really no reason not to take advantage of this offer. For a $25 deposit you get $63.50 worth of value ($25 on FanDuel + $10 bonus on FanDuel + $28.50 FBG subscription). Take advantage of it now.

    Geoff Bough: Why partner with Footballguys? Isn't it obvious? So we can travel to Knoxville at least once a year and eat some of Joe's amazing Tennessee ribs (they're even better than you can possibly imagine). But in all seriousness, we see Footballguys as the best fantasy football information site in the industry bar none. Heck, they've even helped some of our guys win their old season-long leagues. So we know firsthand how awesome both their product and staff are. As FanDuel has grown, we've made it a goal to work with only the best and Footballguys is that personified. Considering the level of excellence both sites aim for, it only seemed natural that we should start working together. Luckily Footballguys agreed and here we are.

    Talk to us about the $75,000 Footballguys Tournament

    Cameron: The Footballguys FanDuel Championship is an exclusive Footballguys-only weekly fantasy football tournament with two rounds and $75,000 in cash prizes paid out during the season. Starting September 9th, every week for 15 weeks, FanDuel will host a qualifying contest. These qualifying contests will last just one week each and each one will have runner-up prizes of $2,000. The top two finishers will win entry into the Footballguys FanDuel Championship Grand Final. In the Grand Final the 30 finalists will compete in an intense fantasy football league that lasts just one day Sunday, December 23rd. The winner will be crowned Footballguys FanDuel Grand Champion and take home the top prize of $15,000.

    We think the Footballguys FanDuel Championship is going to be HUGE. We are delighted to be paying Footballguys readers $75K in prizes with the winner taking home a massive $15K first prize. The first two qualifiers are free to enter and with two tickets to the final given away each week that means we'll see four players in the final who qualified for $0. If you've already signed up for FanDuel via Footballguys, login to the site and you can find the contest in the lobby or by clicking this link. If you haven't signed up for Footballguys yet, then do so here and you'll then have access to join the FBGFC.

    Geoff: We think this is just a really cool idea and a great way to help introduce daily fantasy football to the Footballguys audience. You get to play against all the people you know on the Footballguys message boards and chat with on a usual basis. It's like the ultimate private league with friends. It's only for Footballguys members who have signed up for FanDuel, so you know exactly who your competition is: People who have the help of Footballguys! It's going to be one heck of a battle every week. I can't wait to see who wins this thing as it'll be the ultimate test to see who the best daily fantasy football player on Footballguys is.

    What's new with FanDuel this year? What's coming in the future?

    Tom: The big story this year has been our mobile website that allows any smart phone users to register, pick a contest, draft a team then watch their live scoring right from their mobile browser. We have also released power features that allow users with dozens of entries in a day to edit them all in one go. We are very excited about the size and variety of contests we will be offering this coming NFL season. We are expecting to be paying out over $1m a week across our competitions. Also coming up before the end of the year will be the addition of college football as an option for daily contests, which we know a lot of college sports fans are excited about.

    Where can people go to get more information on FanDuel, the contests, and frequently asked question?

    Cameron: We are going to be working very closely with Footballguys throughout the season so look out for some great strategy articles each week on Footballguys as well as details of upcoming contests and promotions. We have a fantastic customer service team here at FanDuel so feel free to contact them at support@fanduel.com with questions you have about FanDuel. We also have a How FanDuel Works video you can see here. For information on the subscription or the FBGFC feel free to contact us directly at cameron@fanduel.com or geoff@fanduel.com. Also feel free to catch us on the FBG forums too!

    Is there anything else you'd like to add?

    Geoff: Our goal is to provide the Footballguys audience with the best possible experience out there when it comes to playing daily fantasy football, which we feel is the future of fantasy sports. We couldn't be more pleased to be working with such an awesome and passionate site. Here's to the 2012-2013 season.

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