Photographs by Reuters

Neither of the rival daily fantasy sports startups will reveal how many users they have. All we know is that they’re in an arms race for users, and they’re raising and spending giant piles of cash to compete.

By Erin Griffith
October 7, 2015
October 07, 2015

FanDuel has raised $361 million in venture capital and spent $20 million on advertising in the between August 1 and September 15.

DraftKings has raised $375 million in venture capital and spent $80 million in the same period.

Together, they spent $150 million on ads in the third quarter.

In the absence of download and usage data directly from the companies, it’s helpful to turn to third parties. 7park Data, an app analytics company which collects app download and usage data from 100 million panelists, has provided a look into how the two are faring. In the month of September, the two companies appear to be neck-and-neck in terms of daily active users and overall app installs, according to 7park. FanDuel has edged out DraftKings in recent weeks, according to this data.

But in terms of users, they’re still losing out to the incumbent players in fantasy sports apps –Yahoo and ESPN — which aren’t yet big players in the real money gambling side of the business. This stiff competition from incumbents is part of the reason why my colleagues Dan Primack and Daniel Roberts argued earlier this week that FanDuel and DraftKings should merge.

Courtesy 7Park

Looking at Google searches, no clear winner has emerged, though FanDuel had more searches than DraftKings in September 2014 and has pulled ahead in October.

But, again, FanDuel and DraftKings are still dwarfed by searches for “Yahoo fantasy,” in yellow, and “Yahoo fantasy football,” in green.

Here’s App Annie’s download charts on DraftKings on iOS in the US for the last 90 days. It’s consistently in the top five for sports.

FanDuel starts the season slightly lower, but climbs into the top five as well.

Many view these companies as legal gambling, but they get around that designation by arguing their drafts are “games of skill.” They are currently facing their first controversy in the form of an insider trading scandal among employees. It’s not clear yet whether the scandal will hurt them, though it has already led to an investigation and cancelled advertising deals. Roberts argued that it won’t have a long term effect, and Primack argued it will.

For more from Fortune on these companies, read:

This man is blowing up fantasy sports

Are DraftKings and FanDuel legal?

Why ESPN is running back-to-back DraftKings and FanDuel ads

The significance of NFL players appearing in DraftKings ads

FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles: How we’re competing with DraftKings

Did David Stern just leak a fantasy sports merger?

 

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