The team at USBR.com are excited this week as we got the opportunity to shoot over a few quick questions to Bill Asher, CEO & Founder of Monkey Knife Fight.
Monkey Knife Fight is one of the fastest growing DFS companies today and Bill took the time out of his busy schedule to discuss the company plans and how they are dealing with today’s global pandemic.
How is the team behind Monkey Knife Fight coping with the current COVID-19 crisis?
Asher. First and foremost, our concern is for the safety and health of our employees and their families. As it relates to our business, this period has given us an opportunity to be aggressive and utilize this down time to go after opportunities for new partnerships, and continue to make improvements to our platform.
Not only have we retained our original staff, all of whom are working from home, but we have also hired people who have become available from other companies. In addition, we have continued to promote our “aggressively open for business” approach, so people know that we are looking for opportunities and will work to create supportive relationships during a time others may need them.
We know sports will come back. In the meantime, we are focused on product development, and creating long-term partnerships for when that happens. We’ve even begun to test free-to-play games (like our NFL Draft Series at www.mkfdraft.com) to assess the value of that concept. We expect to make several announcements in the coming months about how we are expanding in the industry.
Tell us about the partnership deal with Enthusiast Gaming. What does the pivot to eSports mean for Monkey Knife Fight and what are your thoughts on the strength of eSports in a post-COVID-19 world?
Asher. eSports gaming was always a huge part of our long-term business plan, but this period has reintroduced the world to our eSports products while traditional sports gaming has been put on pause. In 2018, we began offering eSports games to our users, while still primarily focusing on maintaining and enhancing the products that were our key drivers, the main North American professional sports — NFL, NBA, MLB, PGA and NHL.
The void created by a shutdown of traditional sports allowed us to shift our focus to building, testing, analyzing, and enhancing this other exciting revenue stream. We have dedicated resources to build our eSports portfolio and expose our brand to that undeniably attractive market. Since other sports have shut down, our eSports play has increased 30 times compared to what it was just a year ago. The partnership with Enthusiast is an example of creating a partnership and aligning Monkey Knife Fight with a dominant player in the eSports content space.
Monkey Knife Fight is the third largest fantasy operator in North America, what differentiates Monkey Knife Fight from other fantasy operators?
Asher. Monkey Knife Fight is different in one very important way: our gaming philosophy. There are hundreds of millions of sports fans in North America, but very few of those fans dedicate enough time to know every player on every team, every matchup variable and all injury news to win traditional salary-cap Daily Fantasy Sports contests.
Monkey Knife Fight is different in one very important way: our gaming philosophy
Monkey Knife Fight is created for the ordinary sports fan who simply wants to focus on their favorite teams and players. But there is nothing ordinary about the fantasy sports experience on our platform. We give the passionate team fan a style of Daily Fantasy Sports that allows them to use their knowledge of their favorite teams and players to try and win some money, all while avoiding the professional players and math algorithms required to be successful while playing on other Daily Fantasy Sports sites.
What are the most popular types of prop games played by your users?
Asher. We offer dozens of different contest types, across every sport, every single day. Our most popular game is our More/Less contest type, where a player can select a number of athletes and then predict whether that athlete will score “more” or “less” of their projected point total.
We have also seen major spikes in some of our more unique contests like NFL’s “Touchdown Dance” or MLB’s “HR Derby” — where a player selects any three athletes they think will score touchdowns or hit home runs, and then predict how many the total of their three will hit. The higher the goal, the higher the payout.
COVID-19 has caused havoc across the sporting landscape and there will be many more casualties in its wake, what will successful companies need to do to come out of this pandemic operational and running at full speed?
Asher. From an industry perspective, we are all in this together. Monkey Knife Fight strives to build strong partnerships and we are working with all our partners to make sure we can all make it through this weird time. While our revenues have dropped, we are fortunate to be fully funded operationally and able to work diligently every day to enhance our product.
We have not throttled back. We have never stopped running at full speed. For companies that are in a different position, they need to focus resources and be hyper-vigilant when planning their post-pandemic marketing strategy. Professional sports leagues will eventually give us confirmed timelines of returning to competition, and when they do, most companies will need to pick a lane and commit to it. There is not going to be a restart in this race, so it’s vital to have your game plan in place and a team that is committed to execute it.