As detailed in our recent piece on DraftKings’ Bucket List initiative, the DFS industry co-leader has placed an increasing emphasis on live fan experiences in recent months. Accordingly, DraftKings recently announced its Fantasy Sports Fest, which will unfold at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts on Sunday, August 14. The event will be open to sports fans of all ages, feature two separate ticket packages priced at $99 and $199, and will be held in conjunction with a Patriots training camp session.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft holds an equity stake in DraftKings.
“First-of-its-Kind” Event, Multiple Ticket Packages Available
As announced, the event is a “first-of-its-kind sports festival” that will offer a multitude of unique experiences for attendees. Luminaries scheduled to appear include ESPN’s fantasy guru Matthew Berry, the network’s on-air personality Trey Wingo and All-Pro Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. A host of activities, including the opportunity to participate in drills on the field at the stadium and to break down game film and study plays in a “chalk talk” session with coaches, will also be part of the basic, $99 “Field Level” package.
Fans purchasing the enhanced $199 “Draft Day” package will receive the entirety of the Field Level package, while also getting the chance to play football with their fantasy league mates under the lights at Gillette Stadium and enjoying a fully-catered draft party at one of the stadium suites later that evening.
Purchasers of either package wishing to add a luxury suite ticket to one regular-season Patriots game with full catering and an autographed Rob Gronkowski item will have the option of doing so for an additional $199.00.
The official event website touts Berry’s presence as a way for fans to engage in some strategizing for the coming season with the renowned fantasy sports guru, while Wingo’s main focus will be to provide fantasy players with insight “about which teams are poised for a great season and how it will affect your fantasy roster”. For purchasers of the aforementioned Draft Day package, Berry will also make an appearance at their live fantasy draft later in the day.
One all-expenses paid trip to a Patriots away game that also includes a pregame field pass will be raffled off during the proceedings as well.
Another Strong Step for DK in Forging Community Ties
The multi-layered event is a significant step for the Boston-headquartered DraftKings, particularly in its integration with the local sports community. The company has appeared to nurture a strong relationship with the city since its inception, and it’s been hypothesized that this played at least a partial role in the approach taken by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey when addressing the issue of the industry’s legality in the state.
Instead of ordering the sites to cease operations in Massachusetts, AG Healy came to the conclusion that the daily fantasy industry did not violate state law, and instead crafted a robust set of consumer protections that appear to be serving as a template for many bills now regulating, or proposing to regulate, the industry across the country.
Contradictory Stance by NFL?
The involvement of an NFL team in Fantasy Sports Fest prompts one other interesting observation, that being the somewhat contradictory stance taken by the league in conceding to one of its flagship franchises participating in the DraftKings-sponsored event, while at the same time strongly discouraging any of its players league-wide from being a part of the National Fantasy Football Convention (NFFC) that Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and business partners has now twice unsuccessfully tried to hold .
The NFFC’s initial summer 2015 launch, slated to take place at the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, was derailed when the NFL warned players that participating in an event held in a gambling establishment was a violation of league policy. The 2016 edition, which was scheduled for July 15-17 at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA, was also cancelled due to what NFFC organizers described as the NFL’s “blatant and continued interference”.
As per the description on the NFFC’s official website, there would have appeared to have been significant overlap with some of the features of the DraftKings Fantasy Sports Fest, with a notable exception being that the NFFC was scheduled to have a much wider breadth of NFL players from around the league in attendance.
A Dallas judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the NFFC against the NFL earlier in July, but the organization is expected to appeal.