6th July 2016
DraftKings officials have dismissed criticism over the site’s UK launch, insisting that the response has been stronger than it was following its US debut, and that there is an upward curve as the countdown continues to a big push for the start of the 2016/17 Premier League season.
A market leader in US daily fantasy sports for years, DraftKings stepped up its international expansion in February by launching a UK-based site focused on soccer. As it was launched in the middle of the last Premier League season, the results were not overwhelming, and a few months later there have been suggestions from industry analysts that DraftKings is still struggling to get any traction. David Copeland, CEO at SuperLobby.com, said recently: “The casual UK bettor has probably never heard of DraftKings.”
However, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins hit back on Twitter, saying: “Just took a look. First 4 months entry fees in the UK were about 10 times higher than first 4 months entry fees when we launched in the US.” Reports suggest that DraftKings has had to spend so much money on legal fights in the US that there have not been the finances to advertise quite as heavily in the UK as had been planned, but it was always the case that DraftKings wanted a soft launch before really trying to take the market by storm at the start of the new Premier League season.
DraftKings’ London-based chief international officer Jeffrey Haas has also painted a positive picture about how the site has performed in the UK. He told the Associated Press: “We’re getting a very favorable response. I can’t quantify that specifically, but from a trend perspective, it’s going in the right direction for us.”
Draftkings has so far focused on striking deals to partner with big soccer clubs such as Arsenal and Liverpool and, despite a slow start in the UK, is expected to become hugely successful on the other side of the Atlantic. While the UK is generally unfamiliar with the format of fantasy sports betting in comparison to traditional wagering, DraftKings certainly appears to be on the right track and players on the other side of the pond will soon get the chance to enjoy regular contests when the Premier League season starts in August.