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DraftKings Daily Fantasy sports customers who’ve been paying attention maybe have noticed weekly updates during the past month to the operator’s new in-app social network. Early next week, they’ll get to see the full capabilities of DraftKings Social, said Jordan Mendell, senior vice president of product at DraftKings.
During a product demonstration he provided to Online Poker Report, Mendell said DFS customers will be the first to experience the social network’s full rollout. DraftKings Sportsbook users will get their turn to see it. They’ll get it all at once, too, rather than the bit-by-bit rollout of DraftKings Social that DFS customers have experienced.
“We’re just going to turn it on on Sportsbook,” Mendell said.
So DraftKings’ sports betting customers will be the first US online sportsbook users to having their own online sports wagering social network, but other operators are racing to do the same. However, DraftKings Casino customers may have a bit of a wait for their interface, as the product team works to find that cohort’s best use case.
Asked about online casino and poker customers, Mendell said online casino customers consume different content from sports bettors. Despite rumors that one might be coming, DraftKings has no poker product at the moment.
DraftKings Social happened because the company listened to its customers. It began work on the product a couple of years ago.
Announcing it would be coming soon, Jason Robins – DraftKings’ co-founder, CEO and chairman – said during a May 7 earnings call the product would unite DraftKings’ sports fans in a way no other social network yet has.
Mendell confirmed that DFS and Sportsbook customers will be able to communicate in a way they haven’t before.
“Customers are really trying to figure out better ways to play with their friends, as a whole,” he told OPR.
Before, bettors who wanted to share their picks with their friends and create pools had to guess how many people would join, then invite them directly. If the size of the group got too big, the contest would end up being cancelled.
Now, friends can spot private pools in their feeds, regardless of size, and ask to join, Mendell said.
That’s just one advantage of DraftKings Social, but it’s the main one customers wanted, he said.
“On a sports betting side, people want to know where money is going,” he said. “They want to see what their friends are betting on. There’s this whole social side of it that’s been missing on the sportsbook side. So that’s really the impetus behind why we did what we did.”
Mendell calling this a “massive product” is a bit of an understatement. DraftKings estimates more than 5 million people have played DFS. During Q1 2021 alone, DraftKings saw 1.5 million monthly unique paying customers engaged with the app, though that includes sportsbook and casino users as well.
Hovering over the “Home” button in a demonstration of the upcoming offering, Mendell showed how customers will see a customized “For You” social feed.
There, they can see content that’s based on their choices. Public content will show up in that feed, as well as items from friends and others on DraftKings.
If they click on someone’s profile, depending on that person’s privacy settings, they can see the person’s profile, feed and betting history. There’s also a “Test” setting for posts, which makes them visible only to the user themselves.
One use for the service is to look for interesting bets your friends are making. DraftKings Social makes it easy to copy bets.
“You can see when they make a big parlay,” Mendell said, displaying an example in the demo. “If this was open, I would be able to press the ‘add all’ button and then add this same parlay to my slip.”
The user can also look for betting pools to join. Some are open to the public, but the user can “knock” to request entry to those which are set to be private.
During internal testing by DraftKings employees, the company regularly saw 20 or so bettors jump on a parlay in this way. This was using play money, of course, as those working for the company aren’t legally allowed to place real money bets.
By joining a pool, DraftKings Social users can end up “sweating the same four-leg parlay” as their friends. Mendell described this as “a lot of fun.”
“So it becomes a really interesting and social experience that changes the whole dynamic of how sports betting has just been this individual/you vs. the house type of scenario,” Mendell said.
Because users will likely enjoy DraftKings Social, they’ll likely be sharing the images, videos, articles and other content. They’ll be able to do so on other social networks, too.
Mendell said Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube all render DraftKings Social’s shared posts quite well. Additionally, other content providers – like sports betting influencers and content creators – can join DraftKings and share content on the social network.
OPR believes that will likely enhance the feature’s organic search results, as this will include a lot of original content from users.