DraftKings has already made Boston a prominent place in the fantasy sports industry. It has set out to do the same for the sports tech industry with DraftKings Drive.
As long as Massachusetts sports betting remains illegal, a natural path forward to grow its brand is doubling down on what made DraftKings the company it is: finance and tech. That’s exactly what Drive is all about.
DraftKings Drive plays matchmaker for funding and innovation
DraftKings announced the new initiative recently. The company described Drive as an “ecosystem of athletes, entrepreneurs, investors, teams, leagues, super-fans and business leaders who are driving the acceleration of sports professionals into tech and tech entrepreneurs into sports.”
DraftKings is a great representation of that ecosystem itself. Its daily fantasy games and sportsbooks rely on not only the latest technology but significant investments, as well.
The Drive program seeks to act as a bridge between similar investors and sports tech companies. It also aims to provide a link the other way, for tech companies looking for new opportunities.
To draw attention to the program, DraftKings has enlisted Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is an example of individuals DraftKings wants to involve.
Drive wants to put athletes in the driver’s seat
More professional athletes are ending their playing careers earlier than ever before. Even during their playing days, they are devoting more resources to preparing for life after sports.
Because of that, athletes are looking for ways to turn their salaries into residual income. DraftKings believes sports tech is a great avenue.
Other investors like Accomplice, Boston Seed and General Catalyst have partnered with DraftKings on Drive. DraftKings hopes to add athletes, franchises and leagues to their ranks.
Professional athletes are also a great marketing tool for tech startups. They have networks and relationships with the leagues and teams they play for, as well.
That’s why Fitzgerald is just the beginning of what DraftKings hopes will become a robust network of athletes. The capital, influence and network they represent are invaluable.
At the same time, the professional sports industry is one in which competitors are constantly looking for any edge. Technology has already fueled several such advancements. DraftKings believes there are more.
Tech innovations in sports go beyond analytics and stats
Fans have become familiar with the rise of game-play analytics in sports, like the rise of defensive shifts in baseball. The fact is that sports tech has had much more impact.
Innovations in concessions, marketing, security and ticketing are further examples. Mobile technology has made the secondary market for game tickets explode, for instance.
Drive is all about being on the cutting edge of similar advancements in the future. The main hub for collaborations that will make them possible could very well be Boston if the program is successful.
DraftKings’ Drive Venture Studio in Boston could be the site of the emergence of the next great technological innovation in the professional sports entertainment industry. It could also provide athletes with a future after their playing days are over.