PrizePicks, the largest daily fantasy sports operator in North America, is launching The Esports Lab to teach its users how to watch and understand esports. The one-stop destination for fantasy esports includes stats, embedded live matches and resources to understand the rules of popular competitive titles and the basics of evaluating player performance.

At launch, PrizePicks’ Esports Lab will support Counter-Strike 2, League of Legends and Dota 2. The provider plans to expand its resources for these titles and add additional esports throughout the year.

The Esports Lab is truly a first-of-its-kind product innovation,” said Adam Wexler, cofounder and CEO at PrizePicks. “PrizePicks has been an innovator across categories since its inception, investing in areas that our community members love, with esports being at the forefront. I’m excited to see how this new offering builds upon the immense esports growth we’ve experienced to date.”

The Esports Lab gives users a crash course in top competitive titles.

PrizePicks’ esports history

PrizePicks first began exploring opportunities in esports in 2019. The fantasy sports operator connected with Hi-Rez Entertainment to support Smite as both are based in Atlanta. The company eventually moved onto other games particularly once the pandemic shut down traditional sports matches. Even once these sports returned, PrizePicks found that users kept engaging with its esports offering.

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“Over the last four years, we found our Millennial and Gen Z audience — while they love
the traditional sports — a huge percentage of them are gamers,” said Adam Boothe, senior director of esports at PrizePicks, in an interview with GamesBeat. “The reason why esports wasn’t as popular is that it can be intimidating for gamers, even if they’re familiar with a game, to know how to engage with fantasy around it.”

The Esports Lab experience is available on mobile web in addition to desktop. PrizePicks plans to launch dedicated iOS and Android apps
The Esports Lab is available on-the-go.

While PrizePicks hopes to grow the popularity of esports on its platform, the company already has a sizable audience for fantasy esports. Over 1 million PrizePicks members have built an esports lineup to date. In fact, PrizePicks’ total entry fees from esports grew 110% from 2022 to 2023.

PrizePicks still skews largely towards fantasy traditional sports, however their relative popularity is rising. Last year, Counter-Strike ranked fourth in entry fees and lineups among all sports, only behind professional basketball, football and baseball. Partially, this is due to esports operating for most of the year, in contrast to the seasonality of traditional sports.

Cross-selling niche

With The Esports Lab, PrizePicks is operating in a unique middle ground among betting providers. Rather than competing directly with esports-specific betting and fantasy providers, PrizePicks wants to introduce and cross-sell to its traditional fantasy sports audience.

PrizePicks' The Esports Lab includes embedded Twitch streams and live stats.
The Esports Lab includes embedded Twitch streams and live stats.

“We’re not trying to be HLTV 2.0. When you come to The Esports Lab, you’ll learn about the basics, how
to watch a stream, even where to find them. One of the most popular questions we get on our socials is ‘where can I watch?’ Even if you’re familiar with Twitch, finding the specific broadcast for a tier two Counter-Strike event can take some time. We are catering to an audience that is tech-comfortable, gaming-comfortable, has sports fandom, likes fantasy, but that esports thing is intimidating,” said Boothe.

To make esports more accessible, the amount of data available is highly simplified. Users draft lineups of at least two players, predict whether each one will over- or underperform PrizePicks’ expected performance on a particular stat — typically kills. The Esports Lab also lists each player’s hit rate, or the number of times a player overperformed their projections out of their five most recent matches.

PrizePicks’ hit rate helps users find reliable players for fantasy lineups.

The Esports Lab will continue to iterate on its offering and expand its features based on fans’ use and feedback. In addition to timely articles about upcoming matches, PrizePicks plans to add more educational content to go beyond the basics. Some examples include guides to Counter-Strike 2’s maps and economy or roles in League of Legends and Dota 2.

Users can start learning and building lineups on PrizePicks’ Esports Lab today on desktop and mobile web (with plans to launch iOS and Android apps in the future).

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