The essence of what makes the legality of daily fantasy sports debatable in states across the country is the fact that participants must put forth something of value in order to have an opportunity to realize a return on that investment. Although a number of freeroll contests that the sites across the industry regularly offer have been put forth by operators as evidence that money isn’t always at stake in their games, the prize pools in these contests typically pale in comparison to those featuring entry fees.
12 Contestants, $4,000 Top Prize
In announcing their NFL-themed Free-To-Play $20,000 Championship, DraftKings is attempting to break out of that paradigm in spectacular fashion. The contest will serve as the first ever completely free-to-play live final in the history of the industry and will take place over the 12 Sunday afternoon games on December 18th, Week 15 of the 2016 NFL season. The location of the final is particularly intriguing as well, as it will unfold in the Dallas Stadium Suite at AT & T Stadium during the Cowboys-Buccaneers tilt on that date.
The Free-To-Play $20,000 Championship will feature a $4,000 prize to the first-place winner. Each participant will receive two nights of upscale hotel accommodations in Dallas and $800 for airfare and transfers. Contestants can attempt to qualify for through Sunday December 4th, Week 13 of the NFL season.
One of the 12 seats has already gone to user tigerachi, and 11 additional free-to-play qualifiers will still run, beginning with this Sunday, October 16th. In addition to the aforementioned $4,000 top haul, the remaining payout structure for the contest is as follows:
- 2nd– $3,000
- 3rd– $2,000
- 4th– $1,750
- 5th– $1,500
- 6th-8th– $1,250
- 9th-12th- $1,000
Good Look for Industry
The Free-To-Play Championship marks a highly positive development for the industry, and one that DraftKings can certainly point to as tangible evidence of “giving back” to their customer base, without any kind of financial return for the site. The fact that the event is also a live final that takes place in perhaps the most state-of-the-art stadium in the NFL, as well as the five-figure prize pool, certainly adds a level of prestige, especially for an event that requires no financial risk on the part of the participants.
The event’s tie-in to the Dallas Cowboys is also another tangible manifestation of the relationship between DraftKings and team owner Jerry Jones, who along with Patriots owner Robert Kraft, owns an equity stake in the DFS operator. Jones publicly expressed support for DraftKings and DFS as a whole last year at this time, when the legal turmoil that embroiled the industry was just getting ramped up.