ESPN’s Big Bet on the Fantasy Sports App

Disney execs are hoping to replicate that success for other networks.

ESPN to Air More Than 500 Live Original Shows on Digital Platforms in 2020
A view of the logo during ESPN The Party on February 5, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Robin Marchant/Getty Images for ESPN)

Currently, ESPN Fantasy sports app is driving a serious portion of the network’s digital traffic. Disney executives are hoping to try to gain similar success for other networks, reports Axios

The Fantasy app has proven to be a critical part of a getting direct-to-consumer relationship that the network needs to move consumers over to streaming. On top of that, it could potentially boost revenue streams for ESPN and Disney, namely in e-commerce and subscriptions, Axios explains.

According to Axios, not only does ESPN Fantasy produce more log-in events than any other application made by the Walt Disney Company, but on NFL Sundays, the app accounts for 53 percent of all minutes consumed across ESPN Digital platforms. The app has engaged more than 20 million unique users in 2017. It gets roughly 90-11 million combined monthly uniques on average, reports Axios. 

Based on this success, Disney launched a fantasy league game for ABC’s Bachelorette to help broaden the reach to more women. The two games were played by more than 700,000 users, 75 percent of whom were women, according to Axios. 

“Fantasy users are checking in all time and have to be logged in whenever they check the app,” said Chris Jason, head of ESPN’s product development, according to Axios. “No other incentive gives people the push to log in and register account with us. That is part of value that executives at ABC see. Fantasy allows them to build deeper consumer relationships with digital products — with paid products.”

Disney CEO Bob Iger said that a new platform called ESPN Plus will launch next spring, and he hopes to get users to pay a premium for additional access to content. The company is also looking at opportunities outside the U.S., like rugby, soccer, and cricket.

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