How are Apps like Draftkings & Fan Duel Changing the Sports Industry?


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The craze of online sports is rising to new heights. All over the world, sports fans are indulging in fantasy sports to be a part of the game and take part in real-time, fierce, and exciting competitions. This increasing inclination of sports lovers towards fantasy sports has surged the demand for fantasy sports platforms, like DraftKings and FanDuel.

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For the same reason, businesses are investing heavily in these types of platforms. Therefore, if you’re looking for a mobile app idea for your business, a fantasy sports app can be an ideal pick. Here is a detailed guide to fantasy sports applications, including their revenue model, features, and development requirements.

What are fantasy sports why people love such kinds of apps?

A fantasy sport, also known as rotisserie or roto, is a game played over the internet, where participants create virtual teams comprising real players. These teams then compete based on the statistical performance of players in actual games. The performance of each player is converted into points, which are then totaled to the final points of the fantasy team’s manager. Though apps like Draftkings and Fan Duel have streamlined fantasy sports, this concept was not born yesterday. In fact, the concept of picking players and running a contest based on their stats dates back to the World War II era. However, it was not until 1995 when Molson Breweries released the first fantasy sports (hockey) website. By the late ’90s, close to 30 million people in the US alone were playing fantasy games.

Why do people love playing fantasy sports?

Fantasy sports leagues attract millions of players across the globe, and rightly so. These leagues offer participants a chance to be in charge of their own team and compete with the best sports minds in real-time. Let’s walk over a few reasons why people play fantasy sports.
Fair but intense competition: Playing a sport is competitive, and sports fans love competition. Fantasy sports involve strategy and unpredictability of the outcome. One last moment blunder by a player can impact the result of an entire league. These leagues are highly competitive, with the smartest sports fans competing against each other.
Player in charge: How many times have you watched a game and said, “I can manage this team better.” Well, fantasy sports offer you a chance to do so. Fantasy leagues enable you to draft/buy players, create lineups, devise a strategy, and make adjustments during the course of the season.
Make friends: When you play long fantasy league seasons, you’re likely to form friendships that can last a lifetime. Besides an opportunity to fight and compete, fantasy sports offer a chance to socialize and meet new people,
Thrilling experience: Winning a fantasy league is not easy, for the fact that you’re competing with the smartest people in the league. But whether you win or end up losing a little money, the experience is thrilling. Very few activities provide such kind of experience.
Fun and rewarding: Imagine having a tiring day when you suddenly find out that your team has won the league. It is a special feeling. Fantasy sports offer an excellent break from the drudgery of life and the real world.

How are Apps like Draftkings & Fan Duel Changing the Sports Industry?

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Fantasy sports app market stats

A market research report from Technavio, a global technology research company, suggested that the global fantasy sports market is anticipated to grow by $9.34 billion during the 2020-2024 forecast period. One of the key drivers of this surge is the launch of a myriad of fantasy sports apps and websites across different platforms. With so many easy-to-use, intriguing fantasy sports apps out there, interested players can seamlessly join leagues, create their team, and compete with other players. Big brands are increasingly using fantasy sports to promote their brand and products. These brands use fantasy sports to target high-income groups aged 25-50 years with substantial spending capacity and a love for sports.
The top five most common sports in fantasy leagues are:

  • Soccer
  • Cricket
  • Basketball
  • Hockey
  • Baseball

The biggest fantasy sports markets (geographic segmentation)

  • APAC
  • Europe
  • MEA
  • North America
  • South America

Overview of Draftkings and Fanduel

DraftKings and Fanfuel are two of the largest and immensely popular fantasy sports and sportsbook platforms in the US. In this segment, we’ll delve into these two platforms, which have played a vital role in bringing the thrill of fantasy sports to people across the globe.


Established in 2012 by Jason Robins, Paul Liberman, and Matthew Kalish, DraftKings is an American daily fantasy sports contest and sportsbook operator that allows users to enter fantasy sports leagues and win real money. In August 2018, DraftKings launched DraftKings Sportsbook, becoming the first legal mobile betting operator in New Jersey. Later, the company opened betting operations in Indiana, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Mississippi, Iowa, and New York.
DraftKings focuses on the following sports segments:

  • Major American sports; NHL, MLB, NBA, NFL, PGA
  • Premier League and UEFA Champions League soccer
  • NASCAR Auto Racing
  • Tennis
  • Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)
  • Canadian Football League
  • XFL

In April 2020, retired NBA legend Michael Jordan became an investor and board advisor in DraftKings. As of 2018-2019, DraftKings had more than 800 employees and over 8 million users and annual revenue of $14 billion.


FanDuel is a New-York-based gaming company that offers daily fantasy sports, sportsbook, online casino, and online horse race betting products and services. The company was founded in July 2009 by Nigel Eccles, Tom Griffiths, Lesley Eccles, Lesley Eccles, and Rob Jones. As of 2020, FanDuel operates sportsbooks in numerous states in the US, including New Jersey, Indiana, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, along with a daily fantasy sports service and an online horse betting platform.
FanDuel offers sportsbook betting and fantasy sports in the following segments:

  • NBA
  • CFB
  • Golf
  • NFL
  • Tennis
  • NHL
  • MLB
  • Soccer
  • WNBA
  • CBB

As of 2019, FanDuel had more than 6 million membership subscriptions and a staff of over 1,000 people. The company has a valuation of above $1 billion, with annual revenue of more than $10 million.
Fun fact: In November 2016, DraftKings and FanDuel reached an agreement to merge. However, the merger was blocked by the Federal Trade Commission, as the merged entity would have controlled a whopping 90% of the daily fantasy sports and sportsbook market in the US.

How do fantasy sports apps work?

Speed and simplicity are the reasons why fantasy sports are popular among people around the world. Here’s is a step-by-step process of how a fantasy sports app works.

  • A participant pays a small entry amount to join an ongoing league.
  • After joining the league, the participant chooses real players from a draft to assemble a fantasy team.
  • When the real game takes place, the real-game performance and statistics of each player are derived. Then, the fantasy sports platform automatically draws parallels to determine whose fantasy team has scored the most points.
  • Once a game ends, the final scores are updated on every participant’s dashboard. The winners receive the rewards, which they can redeem to real money.
  • During the game, the participants can track how their team is performing through a real-time score tracker in the fantasy platform.
  • Once the game is finished, all the league collapses. Participants need to enter a new league every time they want to participate in a new game.

Business model of fantasy sports apps

Let’s take a moment and talk about customer acquisition. Though fantasy sports offer a thrilling experience, most people are still skeptical of whether to get indulged in them or not. And the concern is obvious. Although a majority of US states consider fantasy sports as a game of skill and not gambling, players risk their money at the end of the day. Therefore, persuading people to put their fear aside and start playing can be a challenge in itself. To overcome this challenge, fantasy sports operators rely on heavy advertising. For example, FanDuel spends about $20 million every year on TV advertisements. The average customer acquisition cost for FanDuel is $68, which is quite high. However, FanDuel is estimated to make $100 off each customer per season. As discussed, FanDuel and DraftKings have annual revenue of $10 million and $14 million, respectively (2018).  The revenue model of both platforms relies on player entrance fees. DraftKings, for instance, charges 10% of the league buy-in amount. So, if a user buys-in a spot for $10, $1 will go to DraftsKing, and the remaining $9 will enter the prize pool. There are, of course, other ways of making money. Selling ads is one. As mentioned earlier, global brands use fantasy sports platforms to promote their products and services. Fantasy sports sites also partner with names like Sports Illustrated, Comcast, and NBC, which creates an additional stream of revenue.

How do fantasy apps generate revenue?

Fantasy sports applications operate on different monetization models. An app can either have a combination of one or two of them or can work on all of them combined. That said, let’s take a look at how fantasy sports apps can generate revenue.
Participation fees: Collecting a small share of the buy-in amount is one of the primary ways most fantasy sports apps generate revenue. You can decide upon a fixed percentage of the amount you’ll deduct on every buy-in.
Advertisement: If your platform gains enough popularity, you’ll be able to offer your platform for promotion to brands and companies. Sports-related brands and leagues are on a constant lookout for platforms with a high degree of engagement among sports fans.
User engagement models: Both DraftKings and FanDuel allow their users to take up contests every day or every week. This enhances user engagement and increased revenue.

Cost to develop an app like DraftKings

Developing a fantasy sports app can be challenging. Popular fantasy sports platforms like DraftKings and FanDuel host millions of users every day. To make sure your app is able to handle an enormous amount of traffic, you’ll need to invest in superior-grade backend and servers. Besides, these platforms require a smooth and elegant user interface that’s intriguing and easy to use. The estimated costs of building a sports application like DraftKings can range between $18,000 and $25,000. In addition to the baseline development costs, expenses for maintenance, updates, support, and security can add up another $7,000 – $10,000. The cost of development will also depend on the platforms you’re developing the app for and the type of functionality you’re planning to include. To make sure your app development expenses don’t surge too high, stick to a trusted app development company like Esferasoft.

Innovative features to make more efficient fantasy sports app

First, there are some basic features every sports app should have for both admins and participants (players). Let’s discuss these must-have features.


  • Admin sign up and log in
  • Manage results and points
  • Manage results and points
  • Team management
  • Manage notifications and requests
  • Manage games, contests, leagues, and players


  • Sign up/registration and login
  • Home screen
  • Contests
  • Join contest
  • Live score
  • Profile settings

The aforementioned features will help you get your sports fantasy app up and running. However, if you want to make your app stand out in a competitive market, the above features won’t cut it. Here are some additional features that will enhance the functionality of your app.
Push notifications: Your users may not be able to have their app open all day. It is important to notify your users regarding crucial events via in-app push notifications. This way, the users won’t need to check the app every now and then.
Live streaming: Every fantasy sports player doesn’t necessarily have access to live TV. Users might have to switch between multiple apps to check how players in their team are performing. By integrating live TV in your sports fantasy app, you can give your users a remarkable experience.
Loyalty programs: Loyalty plays a crucial role in the fantasy sports business. If you don’t have recurring users, you’ll go out of the market. Loyalty programs are an excellent way to ensure your customers stay with you and don’t get lured by other platforms and offers.
Multiple payments: To attract more users, your app should support multiple payment options. Some common payment gateways your app should support are credit cards, debit cards, online banking, and online wallets (PayPal, Skrill, etc.). The more payment options you offer, the more chances you have to acquire new customers.
Analytics: Offering real-time analytics can help you attract more users. With data analytics, the users can determine which players have performed historically well, along with players’ existing form and record. This will help participants make their predictions more accurate, which will boost engagement.

Technology stack

Frameworks and programming languages: Java, React Native, Flutter, C, Swift, PH, Kotlin, etc.
Database: MySQL, Postgres, Cassandra, Cassandra
Push Notifications: Apple Push Notifications, Twillo
Security features: Twillo Authy, Duosecurity, Retrace

Additional features to spice up your fantasy sports app

The features mentioned above are mandatory to have if you want to make your fantasy sports app popular and successful. Apart from these features, you can also add some innovative functionality to your app to elevate its performance, reach, and engagement. These features include:

AI/ML-based algorithm

There is hardly any industry that hasn’t been influenced by the unremitting benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI). By integrating AI and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms, you can determine which users and spending more time on the app and which ones are spending less. You can also track user behavior and preferences to offer tailored solutions to your consumers.

Chatbot integration

One of the most popular applications of AI/ML is chatbots. Chatbots are human-like chat devices that engage in real-time conversations with app users. You can be innovative and integrate a cheerleader-like chatbot that gives users secret tips on choosing the right team.

Merchandise sales

You can also tie-up with various sports teams and use your platform to sell their merchandise. Sports fans are always crazy about the merchandise of their favorite teams. By tying up with teams, you can make affiliate sales and open another source of income for your app.

Why choose Esferasoft solutions to develop a fantasy sports app?

As discussed, the success of your fantasy sports platform depends entirely upon the app development company you choose. Esferasoft is a digital transformation company with proven expertise in helping brands launch successful sports fantasy platforms. We focus on developing robust yet easy-to-use and intuitive solutions that help you acquire more customers easily. Our immense focus on detail and user experience makes us the ideal pick for your fantasy sports app development initiatives.
Here are the salient characteristics of our fantasy sports app development services.

  • White-label solution
  • One-time cost
  • Time- and cost-efficient
  • Complete code ownership
  • One-time cost
  • Free tech support
  • Customization and scalability

Are you ready to launch your fantasy sports business? Get in touch with us now.


With the number of people playing fantasy sports surging exponentially, fantasy sports app can be a lucrative business opportunity to explore. But with so many such apps in the market, it’s critical to find the right mobile app development company.Get in touch with Esferasoft to turn your dream fantasy sports business idea into a reality.

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