DraftKings Founders Make Appearance on CNBC’s Mad Money


On the heels of last week’s NASCAR deal, DraftKings founders Jason Robins and Matt Kalish stopped by and spoke with Jim Cramer, the eccentric host of CNBC’s Made Money about their position on the 2015 CNBC Disruptor 50 list — companies that are innovating and revolutionizing the landscape of their respective businesses.

In the interview, they discussed the origins of DraftKings, their recent deal with Disney (which owns ESPN) and how they are changing fans’ interest in sports with increased engagement. Daily Fantasy Sports Codes readers can watch the entire interview below.

Few New Details on the DraftKings ESPN Deal

Jason Robins explained the core goal and focus of DraftKings is engagement, which the entire sports industry — notably professional teams and television — is benefiting from. More engagement with the fans is leading to more revenue and a healthier sport. “For us that is the best part of it. That there is this virtuous combination with them that drives content, then in turn drives more consumption of our game and back and forth.”

Robins was unable to get into specifics of the Disney/ESPN deal, which has been rumored to be valued at $250 million but has yet to finalize. Robins noted that the synergy between both brands is very strong with ESPN a leader in sports, traditional fantasy sports and content that surrounds each of the industries.

“We have seen from our surveys that we have done that about 50% of our customers report that even though they all come in on a sport they like at first, they have since adopted and got into a sport — not just playing on DraftKings, but watching on TV and following — that they were not previously following it before.”

The excitement of DraftKings contests are keeping fans interested throughout the entire game and glued to their television sets.

“It certainly teaches you engagement until the very end, every night, and I think that is something that we really go for in the game design. How can we keep players engaged throughout the entire night. Give them excitement every time somebody scores, every big play. It is something we are looking to create in terms of the experience.”

Investing in DraftKings

In addition to the deal with Disney, DraftKings has secured tens of millions of dollars in funding from venture capital companies. The company is valued around $1 billion based on the Disney deal.

Cramer asked Robbins and Kalish if they had any plans to go public, noting that many fans of daily fantasy sports would like to invest in their favorite past time. “Right now we are looking at a lot of different options, but that is probably the last thing on our mind. We’re just trying to build a great business and engage sports fans. However some of our early investors exit will be the easy part.”

Boston-based Matt Kalish started DraftKings because of his love for sports and fantasy sports, which included a passion for watching local sports heroes such as Larry Bird and Drew Bledsoe. “What could we do that could change the game in sports and this [daily fantasy sports] is what we came up with.”

If DraftKings is able to leverage the brand with the likes of Disney and continue their meteoric rise, potential retail investors and fans of DraftKings may just be able to see them come up with a lot more.