It’s been a busy year for DFS solutions specialist PrizePicks, as CEO Adam Wexler recounts here for SBC Americas. He talks about partnerships, flexibility and a welcome return to form in August.
With a dearth in regular sporting activities due to COVID through much of the year, how has the DFS sector fared and what were the main challenges it faced in 2020
In Q2, nimble DFS operators were able to pivot towards the emerging category of esports as a focal point while betting operators lost critical time requesting the ability to book this action. With this flexibility for DFS operators, it lifted Q2 performance and this initially forced focus will be quite beneficial in the long term as esports continues to emerge. Esports like CS:GO is something we now offer 24/7/365 at PrizePicks. Had it not been for the pandemic, we may not have even included it in our offering until next year or later.
Partnerships have taken on a whole new level of importance in the wake of PASPA. What considerations does PrizePicks take into account when seeking out new alliances?
As a DFS operator with the widest breadth of sports league coverage, everything we have pursued fits in line with our current trajectory. In light of the pandemic, we were the only operator who partnered with the American Cornhole League, which received great attention via their amazing ESPN coverage in Q2. We followed that up with two Major League Baseball partnerships to ensure the greater fantasy & betting ecosystem recognized we were ready for primetime. Moving into 2021, we will continue to explore team deals as well as partner with professional leagues that want to bring their fans closer to the games via a layer of fan engagement.
Can you tell us more about your partnerships with the Braves and Marlins and how they are progressing?
Those deals were put together specifically for the shortened MLB season due to the pent up demand from fans once the teams returned, but with our business developing a foothold in Atlanta and Miami – and more broadly the Georgia and Florida markets – we intend to build on our original pro team partnerships in the coming years. While our deal for 2020 was largely digitally-oriented for customer acquisition, our future deals may be more oriented toward customer retention and creating memorable experiences for our VIPs.
What has been the highlight of 2020 for PrizePicks?
I believe it’s fair to say the business can’t go much lower than we experienced in the back half of March, so for us to return with record-setting highs every month since August has been extremely rewarding. Our business is stronger for the long haul having weathered the storm. We can’t wait for 2021 with a revised sports schedule and things like an NBA season through the end of July and a full Olympics calendar.
As we look toward the New Year, do you have any predictions as to how DFS can build on its success in 2021 and how do you think the sports betting market in general will shape up as it hopefully continues to recover from the impacts of COVID?
The biggest markets in the country like California, Texas and Florida are still years away from implementing legalized mobile sports betting — this is precisely where the DFS market can thrive. DFS operators like PrizePicks can continue to serve these consumers with the closest legal alternatives, and while one state at a time legalizes sports betting, it will still be a long time before the digital footprint of mobile betting matches DFS. More and more statistics will fill the television screens and airwaves as the national broadcasters partner with betting operators, and these national advertising strategies can help with awareness for different forms of DFS adoption as consumers seek out their options.