CNBC Disruptor 50

‘Disruptor’ DraftKings: The king of fantasy sports

DraftKings looks to change the game in sports

This week Jim Cramer has been highlighting the best of the game-changing private companies that have made it on to this year's CNBC Disruptor 50 list of innovative start-ups.

No. 45 on that list is DraftKings, which if you like fantasy sports like Cramer does, could be a dream come true for you. It has revolutionized the fantasy sports category by creating a way to legally gamble on the Internet.

DraftKings offers daily fantasy contests across various sporting events, such as basketball, football, hockey, soccer, mixed martial arts, golf and even NASCAR. Individuals pay an entry fee, which can range anywhere from less than $1 to more than $1,000, then draft players and earn various cash prizes.

After recently acquiring the third- and fourth-largest competitors in the space, DraftKings now operates basically on a duopoly with FanDuel. It also garnered major attention when it received a $250 million investment from Disney, which now owns ESPN.

To find out if DraftKings can continue to reign as king of fantasy sports, Cramer sat down with co-founders Jason Robins and Matt Kalish.

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Kalish explained that he's a sports fan who grew up in Boston watching Larry Bird and Tom Brady and first became a fan of fantasy sports in college. He met Robins as a colleague working together at Capital One in 2005 and quickly realized that they shared similar interests.

"We always had that entrepreneurial bug, and we were looking for what we could do that would be something that could change the game in sports, and this is what we came up with," Kalish said.

What makes DraftKings unique in the fantasy industry is that customers have the ability to bet on a daily basis. Robins added that according to surveys that DraftKings has done, 50 percent of customers report that while starting with a sport they like, they eventually adopt a sport that they did not follow before.

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"It certainly keeps you engaged with the game until the very end every night, and I think that's something we really go for in the game design," Kalish added.

Ultimately, DraftKings' goal is to provide excitement every single time someone scores and on every big play.

"For us that's the best part of it, is that there is this virtuous combination with them that drives content, which then, in turn, drives more consumption of our game and back and forth, and it lifts everything," Robins said.

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