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Cable Technology Feature Article

February 06, 2013

Comcast Hits a Fantasy League Field Goal with FanDuel Investment

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

Comcast (News - Alert) Ventures, the investing arm of number one U.S. cable MSO Comcast Corp., is leading an $11 million Series C funding round in the Big Kahuna of the fantasy sports world, Manhattan-based FanDuel. Comcast Ventures also will place partner Andrew Cleland on the board.

FanDuel said that it will apply the funding towards growth, starting with adding to its headcount of 40 employees—mostly within the customer acquisition realm, like marketing, sales and customer service positions. It also said that it would also seek out additional media partnerships to add to its stable (which include the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated so far) and will work to beef up functionality for its gaming platform.

FanDuel offers longer-term contests, but has a differentiator to crow about when it comes to daily play. In those games, players pay in and get paid out on league results on the same day--the fantasy sports equivalent of day trading.

"That allows us to offer a huge variety of fantasy options," Founder Nigel Eccles told Crain’s New York. "You can structure it any way you want to."

And the company is certainly growing: In 2012, FanDuel paid out a total of $50 million—up from $10 million in winnings the year before. During this past NFL season, FanDuel was paying out approximately $2 million per week. And daily games are experiencing more than 250,000 line-up entries per week, FanDuel said, for a total of 6 million daily lineups.

“We feel it is important to back the biggest and most innovative player in this space,” Cleland added in an interview with GamesBeat. “The daily contest appeals to younger players. They play on mobile devices and enjoy the quick hit, snack-like game play.”

More than 35 million players in the U.S. and Canada spend a total of about $3.1 billion per year in a mix of league, transaction and hosting fees, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Comcast joins existing investors Piton Capital, Pentech Ventures, and Bullpen Capital; and serial investor Richard Koch (News - Alert). Other investors include Scottish Enterprise.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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