One of DFS’ longest-tenured players and familiar faces discovered his passion through pure happenstance—a moment that would prove to be, pardon the sports pun, a true game-changer. Chris Prince, an avid and considerably successful DFS player who appears on multiple platforms throughout the industry under the moniker “Beermakers Fan”, is one of the industry’s true pioneers.
Transition from Season-Long
Like many who would go on to prominence in the daily fantasy world, Prince was first an avid “friends and family” season-long fantasy league man for many years, going back to when you had to “pull scores out of the newspapers, out of the ‘ol box scores” to find out how your team had done.
Back in the spring of 2009, while putting in some prep work for a season-long MLB draft, a banner ad for the then-nascent FanDuel caught his eye. Intrigued by what appeared to be a new version of one of his favorite hobbies, he clicked through to get the lowdown of what exactly constituted “daily fantasy”.
A rather obscure sub-genre of traditional fantasy sports at the time, DFS was much more “community” than “industry”, and FanDuel was niche enough to even feature a chat room that hosted conversations between the relative handful of players that were truly active then.
“It was very small. There weren’t a lot of people on the site, maybe 15, 20 people total. Kind of like a family,” Prince recalls.
The rest is indeed history, but not one without its share of valleys along the way. As with virtually all DFS enthusiasts, particularly those that make the transition after years of garnering bragging rights in season-long leagues, Prince took some unexpected early lumps.
“In the beginning, it was rough. There were some good players on there,” he reflects. “I came in thinking, ‘I know fantasy, I’ve been playing forever, this is easy’ and I was taken to the cleaners the first couple of deposits. It took me a while to kind of find my footing.”
Breaking Through in Memorable Fashion
A few re-deposits later, the legend of Beermakers Fan began to grow. His first major breakthrough came when he qualified for FanDuel’s World Fantasy Football Championship live final in 2010, an event that paled in comparison in pricing structure, size and setting to more recent editions. As Beermakers tells it, that year, the proceedings consisted of “12 guys stuffed in the back room of a Vegas casino”.
While luck wasn’t exactly on his side that day, just being present helped Prince establish the foundation for several relationships within the industry that would prove fruitful over time.
“I met FanDuel’s team, Nigel [Eccles, FanDuel CEO and co-founder], Lesley [Eccles, Executive VP of Marketing and co-founder] and some of the other people that worked with them”, Prince explains. The 2010 event also brought Prince together for the first time with Rotogrinders.com co-founder Cal Spears, who was in the midst of establishing the site that remains the hub of the DFS players’ community to this day.
Furthermore, the experience helped him get his “live finals chops”, so to speak, which paid off handsomely 12 months later. At the 2011 edition of the contest, Prince walked away with the first-place prize of $75,000, at the time the biggest haul in fantasy sports history. The fact that he accomplished it from over 2,000 miles away makes it an even better story.
With his daughter Lillyan’s birth imminent, Prince had to send his dad, “Pops” as he’s affectionately known around the industry, as his proxy to the event, a decision that he agonized over for some time.
“At the end of the day, family first, that’s my rule of thumb, but it was tough,” Prince explains. “It was tough to say ‘hey, I can’t be out there’ but she was due to be born any moment.”
To say it all worked out in the end would be a considerable understatement. Beermakers garnered a nice-sized chunk of change right before Christmas, while fulfilling his top priority of being present for the blessed family event. The victory also happened to come at a time when he and his wife were working toward purchasing a home, an accomplishment the prize money greatly facilitated.
And just as in 2010, a live final seat ended up netting additional long-term benefits. Prince’s stature in the industry naturally grew with the victory, and FanDuel seized the opportunity to have their newly-minted NFL champion spread the good word about this exciting new form of fantasy sports.
“They wanted me to be a spokesperson for the site, [following the victory]” Prince explains. “That’s where a lot of the advertising came from, just getting to know them better, them getting to know me better.”
In addition to the professional inroads he made with FanDuel, the seeds he’d planted in his meeting with Rotogrinders’ Spears the prior year began to bear fruit. When Rotogrinders rolled out its groundbreaking Grinders Live online show, Prince became one of its original co-hosts.
DFS has subsequently proven to be the proverbial “gift that keeps on giving” for Prince. In addition to remaining a successful player in multiple sports, Beermakers is also a fixture each weeknight during Rotogrinders’ hour-long show on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, serving as one of the co-hosts alongside fellow renowned industry voice Dan Back.
A Perpetually Full Plate
The national satellite radio exposure is supplemented by an online presence in the form of the popular “Beers’ Fantasy Six-Pack” videos on Rotogrinders, which feature Prince’s expert recommendations for DFS gameplay in all three major sports – MLB, NFL and NBA. Those brief but informative pieces, the research they entail, and his full-time job for the U.S. Postal Service keep the father of three more than busy all year-round.
A typical Chris Prince day, especially during the NBA and MLB seasons, is a deft balancing act between DFS-related duties, family life and day job responsibilities. Luckily, modern technology lends a considerable hand in making it all come together in fairly seamless fashion. Both his internet and satellite radio work are done right from the comfort of his basement, keeping things optimally convenient.
Research for the next day’s Six-Pack video is typically done at night after the kids are off to bed, with the actual clip piece being recorded the next morning before Prince heads to his shift as a rural letter carrier. With a flexible schedule that allows him to complete his work at his own pace, he can often steal another hour in the afternoon to catch up on any breaking news in the sports world, before rounding up his three daughters from school. After some mid-afternoon Dad time, Sirius XM beckons for an hour at 6pm Eastern, and the cycle begins anew a few hours later.
Despite the increasing amount of time that DFS has grown to command in his daily life, Prince would never fathom complaining—but wouldn’t go as far as making it his sole source of income either.
“I’ve always said I love this as a hobby, as something to do on the side,” Prince explains. “I just have always thought, if it’s your job, then it becomes stressful, you kind of lose that fun aspect of it. I don’t want my family depending on sports for them to eat.”
Instead, he thrives on the palpable sense of passion that perhaps only a true pastime can evoke, one that allows him to help other players while also keeping him coming back for more every day. Prince does his best to stay accessible through mediums such as Twitter and Rotogrinders, so as to be able to answer as many questions as possible from those who look to him for guidance. This, he explains, is perhaps the most rewarding aspect of his work in DFS.
“I want to grow the industry,” Prince said. “That’s kind of why I do the videos and the shows, I enjoy seeing other people succeed in the industry”.
Hope for Industry’s Future
And with respect to his view of the ever-evolving legal future of that very industry, one that’s been such a rewarding part of his life the past seven-plus years and counting? With the same enthusiasm and optimism that he’s come to be known for, Beermakers offers a decidedly bright perspective.
“I think common sense is finally starting to come into play,” Prince opines. “The regulations and consumer protection, I’m fine with all that. I think we’re trending in the right direction, I definitely have a positive outlook on it.”