The tech behind fantasy sports
Whilst it is over 70 years old, over the last decade fantasy sport has become a booming global market. Research indicates that the fantasy sports market is due to grow from $20.36 billion in 2020 to $22.31 billion in 2021. With over 60 million players in the US alone, it has changed the way fans enjoy sport and added an extra layer of excitement to gameday. With the advent of daily fantasy sports (DFS) players are now able to run their fantasy franchises in the NBA, MLB, NHL and NFL every day of the week. Additionally, president of the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association, Paul Charcanian, has pointed to a changing demographic that has helped increase its usership with females now representing 29% of fantasy footballs player base.
Its incredible surge in popularity has been aided by just how accessible it has become. The availability and affordability of smartphones means that players can now simply open their DraftKings app and start managing their franchise on the go. With 85% of Americans now owning a smartphone, it has been a match made in heaven.
Whilst drafting your fantasy team could not be simpler, the technology behind it cannot be understated. We will use fantasy football as an example. The NFL, like all sports, is a game of numbers. Passing yards, receptions, third down conversion rates— If you want to be a successful fantasy football player it is important that you are clued up on these kinds of statistics. Playing fantasy is not just a roll of the dice, there is real skill in winning. This has even been backed up by researchers at MIT.
There are plenty of resources at home that can help you with this. You can use programming like NFL RedZone, fantasy football podcasts and YouTube channels. You can even talk to your Alexa about it. However, all of this means nothing if the information is inaccurate. This is why it is so important that fantasy sports providers get everything exactly right for their users, making it fun and fair for everyone. For this reason, many providers will use expert third-party companies to compile their statistics database.
DraftKings, for example, partner with the SportsTech lead in data and AI technology Stats Perform to provide unparalleled sporting data suckles for usage in its DFS contests. Stats Perform provide DK with the stats and records needed to create their incredible database of player performances. Statisticians will work round the clock to keep the statistics of your RBs rushing yards, WRs receptions and everything in between to make sure your experience runs as smoothly as possible. Their efforts are part of what makes fantasy sports so exciting. It creates an immersive experience for players who can feel like a real-life general manager as they make game time decisions for who to draft and who to drop. Stats Execute Chief Proceeds Officer Steve Xeller said. “Exhausting Stats Perform data, DraftKings has sparkled innovation and affected progress within the parks of predictive game analytics and digital entertaining.
The importance of this partnership was shared by Ezra Kucharz, Chief Commercial Officer at DraftKings, who said; “Our rising list of DFS games are very popular and entail fast and precise data for fans who are subsequent along to games in actual. Through our long-lasting partnership with Stats Perform, we have advanced an significant layer of trust between our clienteles and the sports data they interact with. We look frontward to continuing our company with Stats Perform as we increase our aids in the U.S. and abroad.”
There are also dedicated teams of engineers who will work extensively on the servers and systems of fantasy sports apps to make sure they can deal with the running of the app itself. This is especially important on gamedays, where traffic can be big and user behaviour can be very erratic as they react to injury news for example and make last minute changes to their franchises. All of the work that goes on behind the scenes is incredibly important to the user experience and the success of this work is reflected in the sheer number of players in the US today.
In many ways fantasy sports has become its own sub-culture of sport. Every week there is thousands of hours put into providing players with content that will help them with their draft picks. And that is just through social channels like YouTube. Sports networks and even the NFL itself now dedicate portions of their programming to fantasy football, with the NFL Network referring to their ‘Red Zone’ channel as “The perfect fantasy football companion.” Above all, information like that of what Stats Perform provide would be virtually impossible for any player to log for themselves and by doing this hard work for you, apps like DraftKings give you the best possible chance of winning. The work of engineers is what makes the experience in apps or on your PC so enjoyable. So next time you are struggling with a tough game time decision over whether you have made the right QB/WR combination, spare a thought for the people who have made it possible.