DraftKings and FanDuel Coming to a Movie Theater Near You

on August 25, 2016
DraftKings and FanDuel daily fantasy sports movie

Respective DraftKings and FanDuel CEOs Jason Robins (left) and Nigel Eccles could soon be portrayed by Hollywood actors should the daily fantasy sports movie get a green light. (Image: Left: Chris Goodney/Bloomberg Right: Amy Price/Getty Images)

The DraftKings and FanDuel saga is on track to be made into a major motion picture by one of Hollywood’s leading distribution companies.

Deadline.com is reporting today that TriStar Pictures, the iconic film studio behind such legendary hits as “Jerry Maguire,” “Philadelphia,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” and “Rudy,” has optioned the movie rights to the story behind daily fantasy sports (DFS).

A film option is a contractual agreement between a movie company and writer for the exclusive rights to a book or story.

But before you go rushing to buy your soda and popcorn, the DFS epic is years away from hitting your local theater. That’s because the book that will serve as the inspiration for the screenplay is yet to be published.

Sports Illustrated journalist Albert Chen is currently in the midst of writing “The Big Game.” The title is likely influenced by the massively successful “The Big Short,” the 2010 book on the US housing bubble that was turned into a 2015 film starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt.

Chen’s manuscript, officially titled “The Big Game: Daily Fantasy and the High Stakes Battle for Fans, Fortune and Survival,” is being dubbed by his publisher as the definitive story of the rise of DFS and its later struggles.

Making of a Movie

The emergence of DraftKings and FanDuel over the last several years does seem like something out of a Hollywood script.

Sports gambling is banned everywhere except Nevada, but two small tech startups in rival cities rapidly gained thousands of sports wagering customers throughout the country on their way to becoming valued at over $1 billion each.

Boston-based DraftKings and New York City’s FanDuel inundated homes through television spots. The two DFS market leaders, estimated to control at least 95 percent of the US daily fantasy market, spent untold millions on commercial marketing campaigns.

The advertisements worked. They attracted new DFS bettors and the purses grew.

And then the ads attracted a new player in the DFS game: state attorneys general.

The past year has been tumultuous for the two DFS companies. But while the majority of attorneys general deemed the contests illegal, cash-hungry politicians are looking to regulate.

State legislatures around the country are now acting to authorize the emerging revenue makers.

Just this month, DFS returned to the critical state of New York after a contentious fight with the state’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Massachusetts also signed a bill in August that explicitly permits DFS.

Box Office Bust

The crew here at OnlineGambling.com would be interested in watching the DFS drama unfold on the big screen. But it’s not quite so clear that the general public would be racing out on a Friday night to watch DraftKings CEO Jason Robins burning the midnight oil working on a press release in response to Schneiderman.

The DraftKings and FanDuel narrative certainly has its fair share of theatrics. What’s not so clear is whether anyone cares if the two companies have a happy or sad ending.