NBA Embraces Daily Fantasy: Integrated Scoring for 2017-2018 Season

The NBA just did the daily fantasy industry a big favor. On Thursday, the NBA announced that it will be integrating a new fantasy scoring system among other new features to make the league more fantasy-friendly for DFS players. Not only will this be convenient for existing fantasy players, but it will also expose basketball fans to daily fantasy like never before.

The biggest change coming to the NBA is the introduction of the Official NBA Fantasy Scoring system. The new fantasy scoring system will be embedded in NBA.com and will serve as the standard system for all NBA games on Yahoo Fantasy, FanDuel, NBA InPlay, PlayON and Dream11.

What this means is the NBA and all of the afore-mentioned fantasy sites will share the same points scoring system, providing consistency across multiple websites and making it easier to compare fantasy totals across multiple fantasy basketball sites.

The NBA explained to ESPN.com that they developed the scoring system internally along with input from fans to develop a scoring model that will be implemented by all five DFS sites in time for the 2017-2018 NBA season.

Here’s how the new scoring system will look:

  • Points: 1
  • Rebounds: 1.2
  • Assists: 1.5
  • Steals: 3
  • Blocks: 3
  • Turnovers: -1

NBA associate vice president of fantasy sports Scott Kaufman-Ross described to ESPN how much thought was put into coming up with a scoring system that balanced simplicity with balanced gameplay:

“We felt like it really needed to be simple and easy to understand – especially since the new players for basketball – if we’re looking to increase participation, they’ll likely be casual fans, so we wanted to make sure it was as simple as possible.”

Kaufman also explained that fan input was key to fine-tuning other details. At one point, he explained to ESPN, they considered making turnovers worth -2 points in order to better reward efficiency. This did not go over well with fans who “had a very negative reaction to that.” So, they scrapped that idea and went with the fan consensus of -1 point per turnover.

One other consideration they took from fans was the inclusion of partial-points (1.2 points for rebounds and 1.5 points for assists) in order to reduce the frequency of scoring ties.

Other Changes Coming to the NBA

The official points scoring system is just one of several changes the NBA will be making to better serve fantasy players. NBA.com will begin offering “enhanced fantasy content” in collaboration with FantasyPros.com. In-depth analysis and fantasy tools such as the FantasyPros mock draft simulator, expert consensus rankings and other features will be made available at the NBA website.

You can see some of these tools in action at:

The NBA has also changed its published schedule to a weekly format in order to more clearly define contest periods for fantasy contests.

FanDuel Promotion: NBA Passport to London

NBA.com also announced a new promotion in partnership with FanDuel.com called NBA Passport to London. During the opening week of the 2017/18 NBA season, FanDuel players can participate in contests for a chance to win a trip to the NBA’s London Game 2018 on January 11th between the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics.

A Symbiotic Relationship

The NBA was one of the first major sports leagues to see the potential of joining forces with daily fantasy sites. In 2014, the NBA entered the foray by signing an exclusive deal with FanDuel to make FanDuel the league’s official daily fantasy partner. That was FanDuel’s first strategic partnership with a major sports league and their relationship continues to bear fruit to this day.

Fantasy sites and sports leagues both gain from such partnerships. A 2015 survey found that 64% of fantasy sports players reported watching more live sports and 61% reported reading more about sports because of fantasy. As the NBA deepens its relationship with fantasy sports, it will only serve to keep fans coming back for more.

Likewise, DFS sites benefit when leagues openly endorse fantasy. Who needs expensive ad buys when the NBA itself openly discusses fantasy scores and works closely with DFS sites to publish scoring results and fantasy content?