Scots firm strikes blow for games industry
Exclusive: FanDuel’s a big hit in the fight of the century
(Updated) Floyd Mayweather’s victory over Manny Pacquiao in the so-called Fight of the Century proved another winning bout for Scottish online games firm FanDuel.
The Edinburgh business has grown to become the world’s biggest one-day fantasy sports company and was not only ringside, but in the ring itself.
Three FanDuel users were at the fight despite it being nearly impossible to get hold of a ticket. In the ring, Mayweather was wearing a FanDuel logo on his trunks at a cost to the company of an estimated $1 million.
FanDuel is one of Edinburgh’s technology sensations. Launched in 2009 by former McKinsey consultant Nigel Eccles, it is a platform for gamers in the US following big hockey, basketball and football leagues. It pays out $10m in prize money every week.
While boxing doesn’t enjoy the status in the American sports landscape it once did there hasn’t been a real superfight since, arguably, Tyson-Holyfield II, back in 1997.
The fight had been talked about for the better part of 10 years and was five years in preparation. it finally took place in Las Vegas. The bout was delayed while technicians coped with demand from 3 million television viewers who paid $99.95 on pay-per-view. The $250,000 price of a ringside ticket helped raise total revenue to an eye-watering $400 million.
Floyd “Money” Mayweather’s mouthpiece was worth £25,000 and is said to include gold and diamonds. The unbeaten American earned $200m while his Philippine opponent had to settle for half that sum.
Swiss watchmaker Hublot had brand placement at the waist of his boxing trunks, while FanDuel had its name at the bottom of one trunk leg. In terms of exposure, each of those brands got 36 minutes (a full 12 rounds, at 2 minutes per round).
Burger King only got the two minutes or so of its mascot walking in with Mayweather and his entourage. Mexican brewer Tecate spent a bit more for its 36 minutes.Broadcaster ESPN reported that the company paid $5.6 million to be the official sponsor of the overall fight.
The view of some experts is that purely on pay-per-view receipts, the brands may have got their money’s worth. For a 30-second ad during the Superbowl, brands spent $4.5 million. So the companies involved with the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight spent a quarter of that, but for far fewer eyeballs.
FanDuel spokesperson Justine Sacco said that sponsoring Mayweather allowed the company to offer its users a rare experience.
“As part of our sponsorship agreement, FanDuel offered three fantasy contests, with an entry fee of $2, in which the winners were awarded two tickets each to the biggest fight of our lifetime. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for our users, who would have never had the chance to be at MGM, and witness boxing history, otherwise.”
More than 200,000 FanDuel users entered the three contests, which FanDuel says “validated that we offered one of the most desirable experiences to sports fans across the country.”