In the absence of legal regulated betting, fantasy sports has long been a popular pastime for sports enthusiasts in the US, but is now finding itself playing a key role as the former continues to expand.

What is it?

Speaking to ZenSports, Chase Payne of fantasy sports operator Champions Round discusses the sector’s role in the wider sports betting industry in the US.

Who is it?

Mark Thomas, Co-Founder & CEO, ZenSports

Chase Payne, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, Champions Round

What is being said?

“When we look at what sports look like today, or tomorrow or in 10 years, we think, to start with, there should be no offseason,” Payne commented.

“From the lens of a spectator of someone who loves sports and who’s grown up around sports, fantasy has been really awesome innovation to the spectator experience, basically gamifying the way we watch sporting events, and to see the innovation continue we still feel that the tradition of sports is kind of holding back the growth opportunities. 

“Really simply, the best group of friends that we have, we have played for over 20 years. Because of the NFL I only see those friends around 26 calendar weeks of the year. This year we have one more additional week but the other half there is nothing to do, so we’re setting out believing that there should more games of skill that allow fans to consume sports and connect with fans and connect with the athletes they love in different ways, all year round, not just when it’s in season.”

Discussing Champion Round’s business model and the legal intricacies of operating a paid fantasy sports platform in the US, he remarked: “For the legal and compliance folks in the industry, we fall in the category of daily fantasy sports – we are paid fantasy sports. 

“For the average fan of sports, to them it can be DFS or sports betting, but we are distinctly structuring in running contests that are games of skill that function on a paid offering with a DFS law here in the states. We are not a legal sports wagering platform yet, but that is the category that we see ourselves entering.”

Lastly, Payne also touched on the role of the Fantasy Sports and Gaming Association (FSGA), stating: “It’s a non-profit trade association dedicated to the advancement of fantasy sports and legal sports wagering industry. It’s the only one in the US and has been around since around the 1990s.

“The whole mission around FSGA is connecting fans to the sport they love. It’s a mix of business owners, content creators, operators, compliance, business services –  the whole gamut of the industry, I call it the brain trust of the fantasy industry.”

“It has historically been more fantasy but we’ve intentionally shifted and acknowledged where the industry is going with fantasy and sports betting becoming so close in the consumer’s eyes that we have to work together. It’s a mix of fantasy companies and sports betting.”

Why should I watch it?

To gain an insight into the fantasy sports industry in the US from a seasoned veteran of the sector and key figure in the industry’s trade association.

Where can I see more?

Source – ZenSports YouTube Channel

Bridging the gaps between fantasy, sports and betting