Chances are if you have paid attention to sports at all over the past few years you have run in to a multitude of platforms with advertising for daily fantasy sports giant DraftKings. Last year you couldn’t see a city bus in a major city without DraftKings signage nor a single sporting event without a commercial from them.
However, things have cooled dramatically this year and perhaps there is a reason for that.
According to an article from Forbes, DraftKings is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with two firms in which they allegedly owe a total of $4.16 million to fulfill agreements made to advertise on different platforms.
It appears that DraftKings owes a big chunk of change to two entities — Anthem Sports & Entertainment Group and Fantasy Sports Network, Inc. — who are named as the plaintiffs in this case.
At issue is alleged missing monthly payments and other loose ends from agreements signed with both parties. Perhaps the biggest issue is the fact that DraftKings also wanted studio production in their backyard of New York City.
The article states:
According to the Complaint, filed on September 23, the plaintiffs and DraftKings signed a Commercial Deal in June 2015, which required DraftKings to pay $1.5 million per year, in monthly installments, for a total of three years. DraftKings allegedly wanted Fantasy Sports Network to operate a television studio in New York and desired to advertise in and sponsor television programs on the plaintiffs’ various media platforms. The deal also provided DraftKings with advertising space on DailyRoto.
The issue is, according to the plaintiffs in this case, that only three of the monthly payments were actually made to them before DraftKings missed four monthly payments and were notified of the issue. The day that DraftKings CEO Jason Robins told the plaintiffs that the invoices would be paid, DraftKings CFO Janet Holian instructed them to stop creating the DraftKings-related programming. A week later, the plaintiffs were told the invoices wouldn’t be paid.
All of this came after the original contract was modified to favor DraftKings, which also included a reduction in monthly payments, last summer.
Apparently, the original deal included a variety of non-binding provisions, which served to be a concern for the plaintiffs. As such, they continuously asked DraftKings to modify the original agreement so that the plaintiffs felt more comfortable proceeding with development of a studio and new programming. A text message from an individual at DraftKings dated August 25, 2015 states, “let’s get working in good faith.” That same individual executed the June 2015 Commercial Deal on behalf of DraftKings.
The programming crafted specifically to favor DraftKings began being aired in September 2015. At that time, the plaintiffs were not providing advertising space on DailyRoto; thus, an agreement was reached to reduce monthly payments under the contract from $125,000 to $115,000.
It will be interesting to see what DraftKings’ “official” response to the lawsuit and their lack of payment is – all we have now is a statement saying they haven’t been served with the lawsuit and would defend themselves.
This seems like less of a “daily fantasy” problem, and more of a “DraftKings is running a shady operation” problem.