Earlier this year, DraftKings announced a major deal with ESPN that made DraftKings the “official daily fantasy sports offering across ESPN’s platforms.” While that was a massive development for DraftKings, the daily fantasy company actually lost out on a planned $250 million investment from ESPN and instead had to settle for an exclusive ad deal.
DraftKings has moved very quickly to recoup that investment, announcing a round of funding that just so happens to be fronted by one of ESPN’s biggest rivals – Fox Sports.
Today DraftKings and Fox announced a $300 million round of funding that is “led by Fox Sports.” Investors also include MLB, the NHL, MLS, Madison Square Garden, and Patriots owner Bob Kraft.
Via Fox Sports:
DraftKings, Inc., a leading daily fantasy sports destination, today announced it has secured a $300 Million Series D round of funding led by FOX Sports. Also participating in the round were major North American sports leagues Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer; leading sports organizations The Madison Square Garden Company, The Dodger Ownership Group and Legends; as well as existing investors Atlas Ventures, DST Global, GGV Capital, The Kraft Group, The Raine Group and Wellington Management Company LLP. DraftKings will use the additional funding to continue building out its industry-leading web and mobile products, launch its product internationally, and explore new opportunities for vertical expansion.
DraftKings has become the fastest-growing company in DFS since its launch in 2012, having just registered its 100 millionth contest entry this month. The company is expected to award well over $1 Billion in prizes in 2015, up from approximately $300 Million in 2014.
“To receive this type of support from such an outstanding group of organizations, including three major sports leagues, is an incredible milestone for us and reaffirms our leadership position in Daily Fantasy Sports,” said Jason Robins, CEO of DraftKings. “We intend to leverage these resources to develop even more innovative daily fantasy sports contests and provide new exclusive once-in-a-lifetime experiences for our players.”
“Partnering with DraftKings, a clear leader in this field, is a great opportunity for us to capitalize on the growth of daily fantasy sports for the benefit our viewers,” said Eric Shanks, President and COO, FOX Sports. “We’ll work with DraftKings to develop ideas and create content to drive deeper engagement with sports fans across multiple platforms, including our national, local, and digital properties.”
The battle between DraftKings and FanDuel for daily fantasy supremacy has exploded this year. DraftKings has been very aggressive in gaining these high profile partnerships not just with sports media companies, but with the leagues themselves. For instance, the company just announced a new partnership with Major League Soccer, who’s also now on board an investor.
The supernova that is daily fantasy is becoming big business. And as more money is invested, you can bet that there’s going to be more scrutiny towards daily fantasy, and the legal questions therein, in the near future.