Comcast leads $11M investment in fantasy sports operator FanDuel

Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) led an $11 million investment round in FanDuel, an online fantasy sports operation that pays cash to the winners of its daily competitions.

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FanDuel said Wednesday that Comcast Ventures partner Andrew Cleland joined its board of directors. Cleland suggested in a prepared statement that Comcast will offer FanDuel to its subscribers. "We see a clear opportunity to introduce the game to a broader set of sports fans and I'm excited to begin working with the company," Cleland said.

FanDuel charges users entry fees ranging from $5 to $100 to participate in its online contests. The New York-based company, which was founded in 2009, says it paid out $50 million in winnings last year. While online gambling on sporting events and casino games isn't legal in the United States, fantasy sports were exempted from the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act since they are "considered a game of skill," FanDuel notes on its website.

Look for Comcast to eventually integrate fantasy sports contests from FanDuel in its digital cable platform and allow subscribers to participate with their cable remote controls. The nation's largest cable MSO included a mention of fantasy sports in a recent patent application related to technology for streaming 3D video. "The viewer may be watching a live 3D football game. As such, the viewer may desire to render data from a website for a fantasy football league. As such, statistics and data for her fantasy football team may be displayed as out of band content object. The viewer may access the website for obtaining the needed data for rendering through a gateway at the home of the viewer," Comcast wrote in the patent application. Mark Francisco, a fellow in Comcast's office of the CTO, is listed as the inventor.

Comcast made the FanDuel investment through its Comcast Ventures subsidiary. FanDuel didn't disclose how much equity Comcast has acquired in the company. Its existing investors also participated in its Series C round of financing, including Piton Capital, Pentech Ventures, Bullpen Capital and Richard Koch.

For more:
- see the release

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