Daily fantasy sites take in highest number of entries this NFL season

ByDavid Purdum and Darren Rovell ESPN logo
Monday, October 12, 2015

Daily fantasy sports operators DraftKings and FanDuel experienced their biggest Sunday of the NFL season, according to numbers released Monday by industry analytics providerSuperLobby.com.

Entries into the DraftKings' and FanDuel's guaranteed prize pool NFL tournaments hit season highs at both sites. DraftKings received 4.14 million entries, up from 3.75 million last week, while Fan Duel received 3.38 million entries, up from 3.18 million last week.

DraftKings took in $25 million in entry fees into the guaranteed prize pool tournaments and paid out $22.4 million. The $2.6 million in profit was up from $1.9 million last week. FanDuel saw a similar increase in revenue Sunday, taking in $20.6 million and paying out $17.1 million.

The record Sunday came at the end of a week that saw the daily fantasy industry thrust into the national spotlight amid a controversy over a DraftKings employee with access to internal data competing on other sites. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has launched an inquiry into DraftKings and FanDuel, and U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-New Jersey) has requested a hearing in Congress to review the daily fantasy industry.

Two class-action lawsuits have been filed against DraftKings and FanDuel, centered around the fact that the sites -- up until last week -- allowed their employees to enter contests in each other's pools and that employees had access to inside information that allegedly could have helped them win money.

The negative publicity, however, did not take a toll on the popularity of daily fantasy sports.

"There's a huge interest in being able to play these types of games," David Copeland, CEO of SuperLobby.com, told ESPN. "Obviously, everyone has been exposed to the ads and the news throughout the week. Taking both those factors into account, people decided that they wanted to play the games. We were hearing whispers last week that sign-ups had been ahead of any previous trajectory. Yesterday, the big contests filled with over an hour to go."

The increases are even more impressive considering that for the first time this season, DraftKings wasn't among the top 10 TV ad spenders over the past seven days, according to estimates by ad-tracking company iSpot TV. FanDuel spent more money on TV ads over the past week than any other company except Geico, iSpot TV estimated.

DraftKings spokesperson Sabrina Macias said planned ads were not scaled down this week. Representatives for FanDuel couldn't be reached immediately to confirm actual ad spending.

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