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FanDuel is the leading online sportsbook in North America, commanding a dominant 47% share of the total market. With 3 million users in 2022 and revenue growth of 63% in the first half of 2023, FanDuel is an exemplar of rapid, sustained growth1.
FanDuel's data engineering team had built a powerful batch data processing architecture to support their business intelligence and reporting use cases, among others. In addition, they had adopted a real-time data platform so they could capture data at the source and distribute it to the places it was needed instead of reading from operational databases or read replicas using slower batch ETLs.
Despite having successfully implemented a streaming data stack to capture and distribute event data, the data platform team at FanDuel recognized that there was a missing piece in the platform. They needed a single source of truth; a central place where business, product, and software teams could efficiently consume real-time data and build with it, enabling higher productivity and faster feature releases.
FanDuel's data teams played a pivotal role in elevating the company to the forefront of the online sportsbook market in the USA. However, to sustain the reputation for delivering an industry-leading customer journey, FanDuel recognized the need for a real-time data analytics platform that empowers self-service development with real-time data. This platform is essential to continue driving innovation in the market.
FanDuel is revolutionizing online sports betting, aiming to stay ahead in a rapidly growing market. Fueled by a powerful batch data platform, the team at FanDuel had successfully scaled its reporting and business intelligence infrastructure to guide company leadership to faster, wiser decision-making.
Aware that its batch data platform wouldn’t support all use cases, FanDuel built a next-generation streaming data platform that would support its real-time product vision.
FanDuel selected Confluent to handle event streaming and Apache Flink for stream processing. The missing piece was a real-time data analytics platform that would allow domain experts and analytics engineers to access streaming data in real time and very quickly build new use cases without having to learn new skills or manage the complexities of streaming data tools.
FanDuel's stringent criteria for a real-time data platform included:
Scale: Ability to handle tens of terabytes per week and spikes during special events like the Super Bowl.
Performance: Query billions of rows in milliseconds.
Security: Absolute trust in data protection.
Integrations: Seamless connection with Kafka on Confluent Cloud.
Overhead: Minimal operational time and complexity.
To pair with its event streaming and stream processing tools, FanDuel evaluated many real-time analytics tools. While some platforms fell out of the process early, Pinot, Druid, and Tinybird all showed promise, satisfying many of the core requirements. Each could be deployed securely, had more than satisfactory performance for real-time analytics, and could scale to meet their demand.
But Tinybird shone above the others in providing the kind of developer experience that made building real-time applications fast, easy, and even fun for domain experts, analytics engineers, and software developers.
Combining the power of Confluent, Apache Flink, and Tinybird, FanDuel’s real-time data platform enabled internal data and software teams to rapidly build and deploy new data-oriented products and features that leverage extremely fresh data and provide low-latency, high-concurrency access to a growing user base.
Tinybird reduces time-to-market significantly
Since all data goes through FanDuel’s real-time data platform, it makes sense to give business, product, and software teams access to that data so they can build with it. Tinybird accelerated this process, making it easier for these teams to access and work with real-time data at scale.
FanDuel partnered with Tinybird in late January 2023 to run a proof of concept handling all of FanDuel’s data for that year’s Super Bowl. Impressed by the performance and development speed they were able to achieve, they quickly began focusing on features in production. FanDuel deployed its first production use case by early April, a second in May, 3 more in July, and another in August.
FanDuel’s data platform team has been able to quickly build a self-serve, real-time analytics platform with Tinybird and support the breakneck velocity with which FanDuel’s engineering and business teams have released robust and valuable new features to production.
Tinybird is trusted by FanDuel's data teams
FanDuel wanted to build a self-service platform where domain experts, software engineers, and business users could access data as they needed it. Tinybird makes it possible to build real-time data products as dynamic, documented, and secured APIs using nothing but SQL. The FanDuel data platform team could handle the hard stuff like scalability and security while giving everyone else access to real-time data using a language they already know.
Tinybird is beloved by FanDuel's developers
Compared with the other platforms evaluated, Tinybird stood apart thanks to its developer experience. FanDuel’s teams find Tinybird easy to use and believe it helps them build data products faster. Things like auto-complete in Tinybird’s user interface, the side panel with the split-screen Data Source view, and many other details turn Tinybird into a product that is much more than simply a database. Rather, Tinybird serves as a cornerstone of FanDuel’s vision to create self-serve real-time data analytics platforms that developers feel empowered to use.
Tinybird enables FanDuel to focus on their business, not overhead.
Tinybird’s serverless platform allows FanDuel engineers to focus on building use cases, rather than worrying about the underlying infrastructure. Tinybird scales FanDuel’s real-time analytics infrastructure transparently and on-demand, removing this burden from the data and platform teams. This boosted productivity and led to quicker implementation of real-time features.
FanDuel's transition to self-serve real-time data analytics was both strategic and incremental, ensuring internal adoption across all teams. Over 90% of FanDuel’s data engineers now use Tinybird on a daily basis, reinforcing Tinybird's ease of use and integration capabilities.
With a resilient, performant, and self-serve data analytics platform in place, the FanDuel data platform team has been able to achieve and even exceed its vision for self-serving real-time analytics, making it much easier for data, software, and product teams to build engaging new user experiences with a much faster development velocity.
A simplified betting experience
As with most consumer products, FanDuel’s user experience comes with a learning curve for those who are new in the betting and wagering world. If you’ve ever wondered what a spread or a pony is, you’re not alone. Tinybird has powered the real-time data analytics behind a new feature within FanDuel's Sportsbook product, providing beginner betting tips, suggested bets, and easy-to-follow games. This has made onboarding faster and easier for new customers, increasing user confidence and engagement.
More engaging marketing campaigns
FanDuel's creative advertising, including their Kick of Destiny Super Bowl campaign, required more than just historical data analysis. During this, and various other campaigns conducted throughout the year, FanDuel utilizes real-time campaign data flowing through Tinybird. This data enables FanDuel to swiftly fine-tune marketing strategies for optimal performance.
Empower FanDuel TV
Tinybird replaced previous real-time analytics tools that used to serve FanDuel TV with real-time statistics about bet spreads live during the games. Switching to Tinybird, the developers rebuilt the on-screen information system in a very short period of time, all while ensuring access to fresh data with a <50ms latency.
Better VIP customer service
FanDuel boasts a significant user base, including a VIP cohort who are provided with an extra level of attention and support. Tinybird provides instant access to real-time data about VIP app usage and betting behavior, enabling FanDuel to address issues promptly or even preemptively, enhancing the red-carpet customer service that FanDuel is known for.
1Flutter Entertainment plc - 2023 Interim Results. August 9, 2023. https://flutter.com/media/an0n5qzm/flutter-2023-interim-financial-statement-final.pdf