Latest Company Joining Daily Fantasy League Fray

By Ed Molina
Feb. 23, 2015 is the latest Web site to enter the daily fantasy league sports realm. The soccer-exclusive company has deals in place with teams such as La Liga's Barcelona of Spain, Serie A's A.S. Roma of Italy as well as English Premier League (EPL) teams such as defending champions Manchester City, current league leaders Chelsea, Liverpool and West Ham United.
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People have been playing fantasy league sports for money for a long time yet companies such as, and upstart have taken the game to another level, allowing fans to win cash prizes for their knowledge.

"The market that we had forecasted, we far underestimated the market," said Colin Neville, Vice President at The Raine Group & Board Observer at during the Feb. 9th "Let's Talk About Fantasy Sports Gaming" New York Venture Community (NYVC) Sports panel.

According to the "
" by Nielsen, as of September 2014, FanDuel was up 2.4 million unique users. Rival company DraftKings saw their unique audience grow from 877,000 in 2013 to 5,129,000 in 2014.

FanDuel and DrafKings work differently than traditional fantasy league sites you’re used to seeing. As opposed to committing to a roster of players over the stretch of a season you draft a brand new lineup every day. Picking a successful lineup can bring in big bucks daily for fantasy league players such as Jake Sanders, 38, of Edina, MN.

"If you had told me a year ago, you're going to win a trip to the Bahamas, you're going to fly over the Grand Canyon and go swim with the dolphins and then make mid-six figures playing fantasy sports, I would have looked at you like you're insane," said Sanders to
. "And I did it."

While daily fantasy league sports may seem like it is flaunting the country's gambling laws, sites like FanDuel and DraftKings are legally exempted by the "
" and are not breaking any of the land's gambling laws that are on the books.

"This is a game of skill. You have to build a team up as opposed to just gambling on what team is going to win or lose," says Shergul Arshad, CEO & Founder at Mondogoal. "You can choose players from a team that lost and still win in the end. That takes a skill and research finding the right players."

Mondogoal is the latest company to join the daily fantasy league sports industry, and is one of only two soccer-exclusive daily fantasy platforms currently on the market. Shergul, who was previously the Head of Digital for the Italian Serie A club A.S. Roma, launched the site during the 2014 World Cup after realizing there was niche in the market for such a site focused on soccer.

"I played FanDuel and DraftKings and I wondered why there wasn't anything like FanDuel or DraftKings for soccer," said Arshad. "I wanted to do a deal for Roma and I went from looking for a deal to 'why don't I do this myself and fill this role'."

Arshad filled that role quite nicely launching a site that allowed players to choose daily fantasy league games from the English Premier League (EPL), Germany's Bundesliga, France's Ligue 1, Italy's Serie A, the United States Major League Soccer, Europa League and Champions League. Since launching, Mondogoal has signed exclusive deals with his former employers, La Liga's Barcelona as well as EPL teams Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and West Ham United.

Arshad is also thinking beyond just popularizing the Web site in Europe and the U.S., with the game available in Spanish for the Latin American market and recently making cash payouts available in Brazil.

"I had the luxury of having developed a lot of s at Roma," said Arshad. "I knew there was an interest from other teams. I was comfortable with the knowledge that the market was there for this and not just in the United States."

While Arshad used his s to garner relationship with powerhouse clubs such as Barcelona and Chelsea, he is looking to grow those relationships with eyes on eventually signing more teams as official sponsors.

"We want to optimize our current existing deals," said Arshad. "We're looking to build up the assets that we have before we decide what's next but we would love to have the rights to Major League Soccer. It would be our first contract with a league and not just one club. They have been doing fantasy league for a long time and they have been doing a great job. We would love to help and make that a better experience."

And it is not just team sports getting in on the action. DraftKings has a deal with the
, is on the verge of signing an exclusive deal with the , and has launched fantasy golf games – a sport that experts did not think would do well in such a forum.

"I was shocked when golf did as well as it did," said Jeremy Levine, founder & CEO of Draft – one of the latest entrants in the daily fantasy league business during the "Let's Talk About Fantasy Sports Gaming" NYVC Sports panel. "We didn't expect it, honestly."

Sport leagues and individual teams see the benefit of aligning themselves with companies such as DraftKings, FanDuel, Draft and Mondogoal. DraftKings has a league-wide partnership with the National Hockey League (NHL) while FanDuel partnered up with the National Basketball Association (NBA). FanDuel has also added the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, and the National Football League's (NFL) Washington Redskins while DraftKings is linked up with the NFL's Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, the NHL's Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers.

It is not just teams and leagues getting in on the action and seeing value in doing business with daily fantasy league sites. Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson have deals in place with the company FantasyDraft, FanDuel has added sports writer Jay Glazer to their stable, and Fox Sports joined up with DraftKings.

These are partnerships that make too much sense for those in the sports industry.

"Sports fans are tribal," said Chris Golier, Vice President, Mobile Marketing & Strategy at NHL during the "Let's Talk About Fantasy Sports Gaming" NYVC Sports panel. "We found that those fans that play fantasy league sports tend to watch sports for a lot longer period of time than your average."

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