Monkey Knife Fight Buys Rival FantasyDraft as Consolidation Hits DFS Space

Posted on: September 6, 2020, 08:00h. 

Last updated on: September 6, 2020, 10:42h.

Mergers and acquisitions activity in the gaming industry is making its way to the daily fantasy sports (DFS) segment, as Monkey Knife Fight (MKF) is purchasing rival FantasyDraft.

Monkey Knife Fight Buys FantasyDraft
A Monkey Knife Fight billboard in Cleveland. The DFS company is buying rival FantasyDraft. (Image: Cleveland19)

FantasyDraft clients have already been informed of the move, and the transaction is slated to be announced to the public on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but it does solidify MKF’s position as the third-largest domestic DFS provider.

Our acquisition of FantasyDraft is a natural fit for Monkey Knife Fight because of its size and reputation within the DFS industry,” said MKF founder and CEO Bill Asher in comments emailed to “We are making aggressive moves to gain market share and influence in the space.”

Privately held, California-based MKF is available to players in 37 states, Washington, DC and Canada. FantasyDraft was founded in 2014 in North Carolina. Early investors include private equity firm the Jordan Company.

Scale Matters

The combination of MKF and FantasyDraft could prove meaningful in the lucrative US DFS market, which is dominated by DraftKings and FanDuel. In 2018, DFS accounted for $2.91 billion of the overall fantasy market’s $7.22 billion in revenue, according to Statista.

At a time when the investment community is laser-focused on the sports wagering opportunity, there’s still growth to be had with fantasy sports. That figure is forecast to jump to $7.8 billion this year, and analysts are projecting compound annual growth for the US fantasy sports market of 13.2 percent from 2019 through 2025.

While buying FantasyDraft doesn’t mean MKF is going to usurp DraftKings or FanDuel tomorrow, it does create a larger number three that the two big kahunas need to pay closer attention to.

FantasyDraft was “the fourth-largest DFS platform, and we are the third-largest,” said Asher. “This is an important step in our company’s growth, because as far as DFS platforms go, this is a three-horse race now and we are coming up strong on the outside.”

Important Differences

DraftKings and FanDuel are the big fish in the DFS pool. But over the years, newer players have grown frustrated, feeling as though they have little chance against the platforms’ so-called sharks, or those players that treat DFS as a job.

Those elite competitors usually have the cash and technological resources to capture the biggest prizes, while making life hard on newer, casual players.

Conversely, FantasyDrafts caps entries at 20 per contest, well below the 150 limit on DraftKings. Likewise, MKF offers games that don’t compete directly with the traditional DFS roster-building found on DraftKings and FanDuel.

MKF’s Stat Shootout requires competitors to build a roster of real-life players that will accumulate the most of a specific statistic in competition, say birdies in a round of PGA Tour golf, or touchdowns in an NFL game.

The operator’s Rapid Fire concept requires users to build a team of players that will top players not chosen in various statistical categories.