If you didn’t already know, Fantasy sports is a big deal. Fantasy E‑sports is smaller but it is growing voraciously in popularity. When you fuse together the exciting idea of managing a fantasy sports lineup and the chance to win hard cold cash watching football, baseball and all the other major league sports becomes even more stimulating. With this said, we’ve now got two start-ups bringing the money making fantasy to E‑sports. If you’ve never played fantasy football or any other variation of this type of online competition, it’s not rocket science.
AlphaDraft and Vulcun have released simultaneously with the new season of Riot Games’ League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), offering fans the chance to win real money by creating fantasy League of Legends teams comprised of actual professional LOL players. The two companies offer free and paid play options. Don’t you worry your pretty little heads because Fantasy sports betting is legal in the United States, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, they’re considered games of skill, and not “gambling.” The organization explains that fantasy sports managers must take into account a myriad of statistics, facts and game theory in order to be competitive. Not so much with online poker, therefore its illegal status.
E‑sports have surprised everyone recently; statistics from video game research firm Newzoo, said there were over 89 million e‑sports “enthusiasts” last year watching livestreams of pros playing – and even practicing – games like League of Legends, Dota 2, Call of Duty and Street Fighter IV. An additional 117 million “fans” followed e‑sports at a more casual level. This has the potential to get a more engaged audience, but draw attention from the completely uninitiated as well as growing the fan base.
CEO of AlphaDraft, Todd Peterson believes this will grow to have the strength of branding that fantasy sports leagues had for the majors like the NBA, NFL, and MLB. His reasoning is fantasy sports players consume twice as much content as non-fantasy sports players due to their fantasy players participating in games across teams, rather than just rooting for a favorite hometown team. His company is offering prizes of $500 to $1,000 each week to its players and is currently seeking additional investments to raise those stakes.
A fantasy team manager must know a whole heck of a lot more than simple depth charts and statistics to win; they also must to take into account injuries, coaching styles, weather patterns, prospects, and more in order to be a successful. That said, the addictive nature of video games combined with the lure of real cash is not something for kids. Both e‑sports fantasy companies are taking safeguards by using third-party age verification services to ensure only legal fans can compete.
This season could turn out to be the most successful ever, something that would likely have happened anyway given the upward swing of e‑sports’ popularity. Vulcun has already raised 1.4 million in funding and has recently participated in a $12 million Series A round of capital for the company. The company is putting almost all of its money back into the prize pool, Vulcun currently has a $4 million 2015 guaranteed prize pool, of which it has paid out more than $750,000 in the past 10 weeks, according to its website.
Vulcun takes a 15 percent commission of wagered funds between groups of fantasy players. If this continues E‑sports will rock the nation. Perhaps you should be considered upping your own wages and see if a company like AlphaDraft or Vulcun could be looking for someone with your skills, check Riot Games while you’re at it.