The growing world of daily fantasy sports takes center stage in Las Vegas next week.
The first Fantasy Sports Combine is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Wynn Las Vegas and Encore. The sessions will include talks by fantasy sports experts, broadcasters and sports personalities, including former National Football League coaches Mike Shanahan and Mike Ditka.
The conference comes a week after Yahoo announced its entry in the fantasy sports business, challenging FanDuel and DraftKings, which control some 90 percent of the market.
The website launched a daily fantasy sports site on Wednesday, which is an upgraded version of its fantasy sports mobile application. Yahoo’s Daily Fantasy allows users to bet real money on competitions with friends or in large tournaments.
Fantasy sports products allow customers to pay a fee and draft a team in a one-day fantasy contest. The winner takes the prize pool while the website takes a percentage of the total wagers.
Fitch Ratings Service gaming analyst Alex Bumazhny said casino alternatives are proliferating.
“Yahoo’s entrance into the fantasy sports market underscores a shift we’ve seen for some time in the way consumers are gambling,” Bumazhny said. “Low-cost options like those now being offered by Yahoo, along with higher-denomination instant lottery tickets, video lottery terminals at bars, and other social gaming options, will continue to chip away at traditional casino spending.”
Bumazhny added that alternative games “may never eclipse traditional gambling in terms of revenue” but they are a threat to land-based casino operators.
Eilers Research gaming analyst Adam Krejcik said he doesn’t think Yahoo will steal business from DraftKings or FanDuel.
“We expect Yahoo to help drive overall daily fantasy sports awareness, but we do not expect them to become a formidable player in terms of market share, at least in the near-term,” Krejcik said.
Bo Brownstein, who organized the Fantasy Sports Combine, said the popularity of the activity has magnified. He envisions the gathering as similar to Comic-Con, an annual show that connects science fiction and comic book fans with entertainment industry insiders.
Brownstein, a former hedge fund manager from Denver, expects to sell out tickets to a fantasy combine that start at $895.
“The interest in fantasy sports has effectively gone from zero to 5 million people overnight,” Brownstein said. “When you look at the directional velocity of fantasy sports, you see the attraction of this type of event.”
The combine will provide inside analysis, a film breakdown with Super Bowl coaches and breakout sessions on winning strategies for daily and season-long leagues.
“We’re viewing the combine as a premium experience for our attendees,” Brownstein said. “This is an activity that continues to grow.”