DraftKings look set to blow their competitors out of the water once again when the NFL returns. The trailblazing sportsbook have revealed plans for a cross-state DK Pro Football Pick ‘Em Championship, the first of its kind.
This is DraftKing’s first foray into NFL Handicapping and being able to offer it across state lines is a major coup for the sportsbook. There is little doubt that this will see DK take another enormous stride forwards in the industry, quite something for the still-young company.
Crossing State Lines
There is no pick’em tournament in place which sees more than one state against another, and this is the first example of it. Currently the contest will only operate in New Hampshire and New Jersey, where residents will battle it out for the $2million prize. Head of Race and Sportsbook Operations Johnny Avello believes that another 3 – 5 states could be added by the time the NFL returns. DraftKings currently operates in 6 other states (West Virginia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Colorado and Illinois).
Avello is also confident that the increase in states will see an increase in price for potential winners too:
“We want to make it as big as we can. We’re starting with a $2 million prize pool, but depending on what happens in the next few weeks, the prize pool could very well grow.”
DraftKings are using their mobile capabilities which are already in place to deliver a high quality product. The company have already used its advanced proprietary tech to create the Casino app which we reviewed here, and now it will extend the tech to this Pick’em game.
Given the status of the company and the prize money on offer however, many football fans are likely to sign up for the new Pro Football Pick’em Championship, despite the $1,500 entry fee.
Discussing the price point, Avello considers to be a competitive figure:
“There actually was some talk about making the entry fee less than $1,500, but in the end we felt like $1,500 was the right number, I did quite a bit of research and what we found from people that have played in contests before is that this was the right number.”
The prize breakdown is attractive however and that is what looks to bring in paying guests to the tournament. As we covered last week, a total 50% of the prize pool will be given to the winner, a minimum of $1m, second takes home 12.5% of the pool with a minimum prize of $250k, third place takes 6.25% with a minimum of $125k. In total the top 50 contestants will take home profit.
Given that it is the first PIck’em of its kind, DraftKings have changed from the more conventional structure which some use. The only similarity between this and others is the weekly pick of 5 against the spread, and here are the key changes we’ll see.
- 16 Weeks – DraftKings have dropped week 17 based on the changing rosters of final week games and possible lack of motivation in teams
- Bye Weeks – All players must pick two bye weeks during the season, these will be weeks where they don’t make selections. DrafKings chose this because “Not every player is comfortable playing every week,” Avello said.
- $100 Free – If a player is 5-0 in a single week, they will be rewarded with a $100 free bet.
- Flexible – One key change which DraftKings have brought is the late pick deadline which they can offer. Nevada contests used to have a Saturday night pick deadline which made Thursday night Football less of an option for contestants. With DraftKings however players can submit less than 5 picks ahead of Sunday games, and then make last minute picks for Thursday games. Speaking on this Avello remarked “I would think most will wait until the last minute to make their picks so they can see who’s in and who’s out”.
DraftKings’ stock price took a hit when MLB games were cancelled, as we covered earlier this month. They will be confident however that when the NFL returns, both stock price and reputation will be skyrocketing thanks to this new contest. We wrote this guide for people looking to invest in DraftKing stocks, and now may be the perfect time to do just that as they will surely become industry leaders when the NFL returns.