Mavericks owner in­vests in fan­tasy sports anal­y­sis site

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Hugh John­son

Fan­tasy Labs, a daily fan­tasy sports an­a­lyt­ics startup co-founded by a Colorado man who won mil­lions of dol­lars play­ing in fan­tasy tour­na­ments, has landed a big-time in­vestor.

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dal­las Mavericks, a “Shark Tank” in­vestor and founder of HDNet, has in­vested an undis­closed sum in the an­a­lyt­ics plat­form.

Mas­sachusetts-based Fan­tasy Labs was founded last year by Jonathan Bales and Peter Jen­nings, an­a­lysts for fan­tasy sports site DraftKings. Jen­nings, of Lone Tree, won more than $1 mil­lion in 2014 play­ing fan­tasy foot­ball.

Fan­tasy Labs pro­vides high-end sta­tis­tics and an­a­lyt­ics for daily con­tests run by game sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel. Its

app is avail­able for iPhone and An­droid de­vices. The com­pany has plans to ex­pand into other ar­eas such as com­pet­i­tive video game play known as e-sports.

Cuban told The Den­ver Post Thurs­day he was drawn to Fan­tasy Labs be­cause he is a “big be­liever in an­a­lyt­ics and data-driven busi­ness.”

The Fan­tasy Sports Trade As­so­ci­a­tion re­ports that 56.8 mil­lion peo­ple played daily fan­tasy sports last year. Cuban said he thinks the daily fan­tasy in­dus­try is “poised for huge growth.”

“The ex­plo­sive growth of fan­tasy sports, and its in­volve­ment with new cat­e­gories of com­pe­ti­tion like e-sports, in­crease the need for high-end re­sources like the plat­form of­fered by Fan­tasy Labs,” Cuban said in a release.

He told The Den­ver Post via email that e-sports “are big and get­ting big­ger by the day. The fu­ture is very bright.”

This week, Forbes re­ported that video game pub­lisher Ac­tivi­sion pur­chased the e-sports or­ga­ni­za­tion Ma­jor League Gam­ing for $46 mil­lion with the hope of bring­ing e-sports to tele­vi­sion chan­nels. Ac­tivi­sion CEO Bobby Kotick said he wants “to build the ESPN of video games.”

On­line daily fan­tasy sports are un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion in some states and have been banned as il­le­gal gam­bling in New York, Illi­nois and Ne­vada. The at­tor­ney gen­eral of Penn­syl­va­nia is re­view­ing the le­gal­ity of the con­tests.

On Wed­nes­day, at­tor­neys for DraftKings and FanDuel ar­gued to a panel of Cal­i­for­nia law­mak­ers that the on­line sports matchups are not gam­bling and are based on skill.

Cuban said he isn’t con­cerned about the fu­ture of the in­dus­try de­spite the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

“Grand­stand­ing for pub­lic of­fice doesn’t have a long life span,” he said via e-mail.

Peter Jen­nings, of Lone Tree, won more than $1 mil­lion in 2014 play­ing fan­tasy foot­ball. Den­ver Post file

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