FanDuel to Close DFS Esports site AlphaDraft

Posted on: October 22, 2016, 12:00h. 

Last updated on: October 22, 2016, 03:12h.

AlphaDraft to Stop Real Money Games
AlphaDraft, once the darling of investors, will cease to offer real-money games starting Friday, signaling the death of a very brief industry. (Image AlphaDraft)

FanDuel’s daily fantasy esports site, AlphaDraft will cease to offer real-money contests from this Friday (21 October), after the conclusion of the League of Legends World Championship, the site announced this week.

It is not known whether AlphaDraft will continue offering free to play games and esports content or if it intends to pull the plug completely.

Founded in 2014, AlphaDraft was an immediate investors’ darling, raising millions in funding from companies eager to buy into a marriage of two exciting and new growth industries.

It launched early in 2015, a month later than rival site Vulcan, and was bought by FanDuel in September 2015.

But this was just weeks before the DraftKings insider trading scandal ignited lawsuits and legislation that threw the DFS market into uncertainty.

Reevaluating the Landscape

While Vulcan had been the larger of the two sites, it was the first to go, in January 2016, exactly one year after it launched.

Vulcan acknowledged that the legal landscape in the United States had “made things difficult.”

AlphaDraft sent the following email to its customers this week: “Two years ago, we set out to combine eSports with daily fantasy sports,” it said. “In February 2015, our team launched AlphaDraft, bringing you daily and weekly fantasy eSports contests.

“What started with only a few eSports contests expanded along the way and we are very proud of the platform we built. However, as we continue to evaluate the eSports landscape, we are announcing today that we have made the difficult decision to stop offering fantasy eSports contests … You can continue to play contests until this time.”

Demise of the Market?

The apparent demise of its two main players would seem to spell the end of the briefly flourishing daily fantasy esports market.

While Vulcan continued for a while, offering free-to-play content, it closed for good in July, and AlphaDraft appears to be heading towards a similar fate. Both FanDuel and DraftKings still offer DFS competitions based on esports, however.

Meanwhile, FanDuel has announced it will launch contests based on English Premier League soccer for the US market. The company recently launched in the UK where the platform is heavily focused on soccer, but the US soccer product is understood to be slightly different.

“Our ultimate goal is for fans of all sports to experience what FanDuel has to offer,” Nigel Eccles, CEO of FanDuel, said in a press release. “As we continue to enhance our core product, we look forward to giving the millions of US soccer fans access to the same game day excitement that bring other sports fans to our platform.”