SPORTS & RECREATION

Billion Dollar Fantasy: The High-Stakes Game Between FanDuel and DraftKings That Upended Sports in America

Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2019. 304p. notes. index. ISBN 9780544911147. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780544911185. SPORTS
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The battle for online fantasy sports supremacy was a roller-coaster ride for its two contenders: DraftKings and FanDuel. Chen (senior editor, Sports Illustrated ) captures the action in this energetic and entertaining account of DraftKings CEO Jason Robins, FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles, and chief marketing executive Lesley Eccles, and how these three visionaries turned online gaming ideas into two unicorn (assets of $1 billion) companies. Chen presents lively stories, especially of Lesley Eccles, who succeeded in an overwhelmingly male-dominated arena. In addition, the book is laced with profiles of the DraftKing’s and FanDuel’s partners, venture capitalists, and high rollers who gambled heavily. Both companies were nearly destroyed by an alleged insider trading scandal but bounced back, largely owing to legislation that paved their way to massive growth. However, the Federal Trade Commission denied an attempted merger because it would have given the new company 90 percent control of the fantasy sports market.
VERDICT The brisk narrative moves nimbly through the online entertainment industry and will find fans among those intrigued by fantasy sports. See David Kushner’s The Players Ball for another take on the world of wired entertainment.

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