2 years ago

FanTeam prize pool structure analysis

Bundesliga football paves the way for the return of big football returned after the COVID-19 pause last weekend. Yes, only in Germany, yes, with empty stands, but I bet every fantasy and football fan is thrilled nonetheless. Fanteam — the leader of the fantasy industry in Europe — provided us with an opportunity to play exciting German fantasy football for the first time. As usual, free tickets were distributed for such a major event and the structure of the prize pool was changed. Let's see how the altered prize pools affect the lives of a daily fantasy player.

Buy-ins and Prize Pool Structure

At first glimpse, nothing terrible has happened. Fanteam conducted a survey on what can be improved on the site shortly before that. The results showed that players were asking for lower buy-ins and more places ITM. No sooner said than done. But it was done in a rather peculiar way, I must admit.

Firstly, an affordable buy-in was deemed to be  €0.5. Not bad for a newbie, but what should players with little experience do? There is a dilemma: either create more squads for 0.5 or fight the regulars in the €20 tournament with €10000 to first. There is no other intermediate option like a €5 buy-in. Of course, we are ready to play anything having missed fantasy football so dearly. Articles with tips and reviews had been springing up like mushrooms before the first post-COVID Bundesliga game week.

At the same time, the structure of the prize pool raised a lot of questions and debates in fantasy chats. It was rather obvious that increasing the payouts for the first few places while simultaneously stretching increasing the ITM zone will leave most users in the red.

Below, I will provide you with some figures for the Bundesliga weekend on May, 17. In order to have something to compare with, I reviewed the last round of the Premier League (March 17th) with the previous prize distribution. Since the Premier League does not have a tournament with a buy-in of 0.5, I took an alternative tournament with a buy-in of 2 euros.

  Germany EPL Germany EPL
  20 20 0,5 2
Number of Teams 2574 2215 3636 3773
Unique User 726 507 970 1056
Amount of Prizes 624 442 500 750
Mean Prize 79,74 112,35 3 8,9
Median Prize 35 47,77 1 4,1
Top-3 Prize 32% 18,38% 46,64% 16%
Top-10 Prize 44,80% 33% 57,63% 28,17%
Over Top-100 Prize 37,15% 32% 26,52% 43%
User Team <= 10 93,25% 91,50% 92,78% 93,47%
User Team = 1 61% 63,70% 57,32% 57,95%


€20 buy-in

Firstly, let's have a look at the main event. Thanks to the hype and various promotions, ticket distributions etc., the number of unique users was much higher than in the last EPL tournament. New players on the site are a positive, for sure. But almost a 50% increase in users in the tournament increased the overall number of teams only slightly.

I also compared unique users in two tournaments (EPL and Bundesliga) and found 171 matches. In the picture below, you can see that 5  users had increased the number of their entries the most and 5 that had cut that number the most. Focus on the last column (G-German tournament, E-EPL) for now ignoring the rest of the data for now.

unique players 20 euros

New users on the site — it is definitely what FanTeam wants to see. Most likely, they are Germans and Bundesliga fans. Unfortunately, there is no data available on the player's country of origin, so it is pointless to analyze the list of nicknames. Let's go back to the numbers.

What was hiding below the screaming '10,000 euros to the winner' slogan? The average, and what is more important, the median amount of money in the prize pool had been significantly decreased in comparison to the EPL! Another significant change is that the lucky ones from the Top-3 will share 32% of the prize pool! That is almost double of what it used to be. Previously, this amount was distributed to the Top-10. Players from the top ten now get a huge 45% of the prize pool. The others get dribs and drabs.

A Number of Entries

Let's take a closer look at how many teams unique users created in the Bundesliga tournament.

users 20 euros

Most users create 1 or 2 teams, some of them using promotion tickets most likely. Very few dare going past 12 teams. 20 is probably just a magic number, I can't find any other explanation.

The graph for the EPL is not very different. The only interesting thing here is the x-axis, which shows the number of teams that users created.

users 20 eurosIt is obvious that the €20 euro game, if you take it seriously, is for the people with a huge bankroll. Everyone else is just trying to get a little piece of the pie entering a few teams. To prove this idea, let's look at the graph of the prize pool distribution relative to the number of entries made. We will see how much users with 1, 2 or more teams had made in the Bundesliga tournament.

prizes 20 euros

I did not include the winner Nevermind721 in the graph intentionally, that would make one column huge, and nothing would be visible on all the others. He entered 50 teams in this tournament, so just imagine a massive column on the "50" mark on the x-axis.

What do we see? Those with 23 teams or less, same as users with anything between 31 to 50 teams are in the red. Yes, there players making a profit with a different number of teams, but the picture doesn't look good at all.

Remember the first table, where we could see that 93% of users do not enter more than 10 teams. 61% of users generally limit themselves to just one entry. Why such a distribution of prizes then?

Maybe it was the same in the EPL? No! Look below.

prizes 20 eurosObviously, the two largest columns are the first and second places. But the distribution is much smoother. You can turn a profit with almost any number of teams. You need no luck but skill to earn money with such a prize distribution.

€0,5 and €2 Buy-ins

Ok, €20 Monster tournaments are for big-time players. Maybe the situation is much different in the mini-Monster? Mind you, there is no tournament with a 0.5 buy-in in the Premier League, so we are comparing the Bundesliga tournament with a €2 buy-in tournament.

unique 0.5 euros

Of course, the spread in the number of teams is larger. There are players increasing and decreasing their number of teams by 40-50 entries. No one knows why they do it, but such are the facts.

Look again at the chart at the beginning of the article. In the 0.5 tournament in the Bundesliga, Top-3 prizes made up for 46.5% of the total prize pool! Almost 60% goes to the top-10.

You are welcome to play, but only two or three players will win all the money! Draw the conclusions yourself, ladies and gentlemen.

Finally, I would like to mention that the payout structure of a 0.5 mini-Monster is even more annoying from the point of view of a casual player if we compare it with a 20 tournament. The number of entered teams between 1 and 10 remains at approximately the same level as in the Main tournament.

Maybe the number of unique players in a small tournament is more than in the 20 Monster as it cost almost nothing to play...  Maybe there are more teams entered by a single user...It may seem strange, but the bulk of users (57%) created only one team for the Bundesliga €0.5 tournament as seen below.

users 0.5 euros

Is the situation any different in the Premier League 2 tournament?

users 2 euros

People are comfortable creating multiple teams even if the buy-in is slightly more than 0.5. 

Below you can see who turned a profit in the  0.5 Bundesliga tournament. I didn't use HeReTiKS (20 teams) and SYNDICATE's (50) results intentionally (they took first and second places), so the graph is representative enough. 

prizes 0.5 euros

It was mentioned that €0.5 tournaments will allow you to train and facilitate the transition to the more expensive €20 Main tournament. Perhaps this is true, but what prevents you from training and planning to move to a higher buy-in with this kind of distribution typical for €2 EPL tournaments?

prizes 2 eurosConclusion

I have just touched upon a tiny part of our daily fantasy lives.  A hobby that makes life more enjoyable for many of us. Perhaps, all these numbers do not reflect the way you see things, perhaps you agree. Draw your own conclusions from the data provided. I am open to argument and may provide anyone with .csv files used for my research. Analyze away! 

The FanTeam platform, which many of us fell in love with, might lose its appeal using this payout structure. If this concerns you, let us make our opinion heard to make sure acceptable payout algorithms return to FanTeam!



Sports fan and fantasy sports fanatic. Loves statistics and tries to find the right way of applying it in fantasy sports. Winner of Fanteam Premier League Experience Tournament in 2018.