GridRival, Fantasy Motorsports App, Debuts DFS in 23 U.S. States

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GridRival is eyeing the first half of 2023 for their DFS platform to go live in the U.K. and Canada.Courtesy of GridRival

As the F1 U.S. Grand Prix descends on Austin this weekend, a fantasy sports startup is looking to capitalize on the circuit’s growing popularity, as well as the proliferation of sports betting with a new product.

GridRival, a motorsports-focused app that launched in 2021, is rolling out its daily fantasy sports service in 23 states with a goal of better serving racing fans that aren’t interested in wagering money on stick-and-ball sports. The hope is to have the DFS platform live in the U.K. and Canada in the first half of 2023.

“A very large percentage of the motorsports audience is not usually traditional sports fans,” GridRival founder and CEO Ross Fruin told SportTechie. “So, there’s a very large percentage of them that have never participated in sports betting [and] are not going to end up on a product like a FanDuel or DraftKings.”

With funding of more than $5 million from investors including KB Partners and Sharp Alpha Advisors, GridRival is adding real-money wagering to its arsenal of free-to-play games, with an eye on traditional sports betting offerings within the next 18-24 months.

Games currently focus on F1 and MotoGP, so it’s no surprise the largest subset of GridRival’s more than 200,000 users come from the U.K., with the U.S. coming in second out of the 60-plus country database. NASCAR will be the next circuit GridRival makes games for, and potentially IndyCar soon after.

GridRival's features aim to bring a new level of engagement to motorsports DFS with league chats and leaderboards.

“Usually, what you will see in most traditional sports betting or daily fantasy products, if they even have motorsports at all, is you’ll scroll past NFL, NHL MLB, all those sports and then you’ll see a category called motorsports,” Fruin says of why he believes motorsports fans are being underserved. “Anything that has wheels or tires is jammed into that category. That’s a really big group of people. … I think it’s the biggest under-targeted audience in sports betting.”

Not only is GridRival bullish on the premise of a motorsports-centric fantasy platform, but also the technology powering and differentiating its app from others in the DFS and betting space. “One of the things that’s unique is we’ve elected to build a lot of this stuff internally,” Fruin said, noting GridRival’s self-built scoring engine and digital wallet. “The things that we feel like are core to being able to control the user’s experience.”

GridRival currently has seven full-time employees, in addition to several contractors, working on separating its product from the masses. That difference is “a level of refinement and feature-richness that doesn’t prevent you from playing the game,” GridRival co-founder and chief technology officer Jeff Shinrock says. “Our users have told us that that’s the thing that keeps them coming back to us, that’s what they want,” he added.

On the back end of the app, GridRival uses Sportradar for data collection, and hopes to eventually build an in-house administrative tooling interface that could help the company with niche sports, which Fruin says is a major challenge. “If we wanted to go add NHRA drag racing to our product, I’m pretty sure that there’s nowhere that we can even get data, we’d have to aggregate it ourselves,” he explained.

Long term, GridRival hopes to become a leading content brand in motorsports and connect the communities of racing fans through expansion of its audience domestically and globally.

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