The league unveiled a fantasy game based on NBA games called Stake Thursday. It seems to be the development of a product called FanDuel Turbo which was never officially launched. The NBA has a equity participation in FanDuel.
“We’re always looking for ways to improve the viewing experience, get people to listen to our shows, and increase the time spent watching live games,” said Melissa Rosenthal Brenner, NBA senior vice president, digital media, in a press release about the launch. “NBA InPlay has the potential to achieve these goals while providing our fans with an engaging new way to experience the game.”
The product is live Thursday evening for a pair of games on TNT:
- Los Angeles Lakers at Miami Heat, 8 p.m. EST
- San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Clippers, 10:30 p.m. EST
The NBA and In-Game Fantasy at a Glance
The NBA calls InPlay a “new real-time mobile fantasy game that uses state-of-the-art technology powered by FanDuel to sync with national live streams of NBA games.”
InPlay will be available for all NBA games broadcast on national networks:
Here’s how the games work, according to the NBA:
Every game broadcast on TNT, NBA TV, ESPN and ABC offers the option to play by launching the app to enter a public contest or create a private game with friends. For each game broadcast, users select their favorite team.
The user then chooses a player per quarter and accumulates points based on the player’s performance (points, rebounds, assists, etc.). Each quarter, users can strategically activate four “turbo boosts” that last 48 seconds and exponentially multiply point totals for selected players.
Unlike traditional fantasy games, NBA InPlay users’ success is directly tied to watching live NBA games and making real-time in-game decisions in order to win.
Here is a demo:
Learn more about NBA InPlay
InPlay is obviously not played with real money entry fees, like the base FanDuel DFS product, due to legal uncertainty in a wide range of US jurisdictions. Prizes will be awarded for the contests — with grand prizes including $35,000 Autotrader credit (Autotrader is sponsoring the game) and tickets to the NBA Finals — later in the season, according to the NBA.
InPlay is available in all 50 states and Washington, DC, for users 13 and older. You can find it at google play and the App store.
The FanDuel part of the equation
The fan engagement provided by DFS is something professional sports leagues appreciate; it gives people a reason to care more about games and tune in to shows. But it still has its limitations and is a passive form of engagement during actual games.
The notion of fantasy in the game is one that has been trying to gain traction over the past couple of years, with entries from Fantasy Boom, WinView Games and ringit! by iPro, among others. The fantasy in the game gives users and fans a reason to constantly engage with real-world sporting events.
“Our mission is to provide sports fans with exciting new ways to engage with the players and teams they love, through innovative sports entertainment products,” said Tom Griffiths, co-founder and product manager, FanDuel. “NBA InPlay is the first product of its kind and we are proud to partner with the NBA to bring fans a revolutionary new way to enjoy the live viewing experience.”
FanDuel has been working on an iteration of this product for some time, based on the realization of FanDuel Turbo last year.
With the merge in progress between FanDuel and DraftKings, it will be interesting to see if the relationship that the latter has with the NHL and major league baseball will be used in the same way. DraftKings also offers a sports and fantasy content app called DKLive which launched earlier this year.