Fantasy Sports Potpourri… Part 1

Did you draft Adrian Peterson with the first pick or did you go with Michael Turner instead? That’s right – It’s the time of year to put together the cheat sheets, work through a couple of mock drafts and find the right players to play for you on Sunday and Monday nights. Fantasy football is back and its popularity continues to grow online.

For my analysis, I used category data from compete.com, specifically the Fantasy Sports category. Unique Visitors to the Fantasy Sports category for July has increased 97% Y-O-Y, a big surge when compared to the 5% increase from July 2007 to July 2008. Looking at trends over the last two years, traffic for the Fantasy Sports category peaks during the months of September through December, Fantasy Football season.

Two of the bigger sites that Fantasy players use to manage their leagues are Yahoo! Fantasy Sports and ESPN Fantasy and Games. These sites continue to grow each year:

  • fantasysports.yahoo.com had a 9% Y-O-Y Unique Visitors increase
  • games.espn.go.com had a 40% Y-O-Y Unique Visitors increase

However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. As you can see in the chart below, those two sites aren’t receiving as much Share of Visits to the Fantasy Sports category as they were two years ago when they captured 79% of the category traffic. Now their combined share is down to just 43% – no longer a duopoly! What could have caused this change? Who is the new kid in town?

Clearly, ESPN’s Streak for the Cash has gotten the attention of some looking to get their daily fix of fantasy fun and information. In one year it has managed to get a 45% share of Visits to the Fantasy Sports category. One way they were able to accomplish this was by differentiating themselves — they attract fantasy players to come back to the site each day to predict winners of matchups and keep their streaks alive – a new twist on an already popular pastime.

So good luck with your picks, and let me know if you have any inside tips to share!