Published by
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2019-09-10)
Current material
MS: Complete Edited
Original language
Sports & Active outdoor recreation


The High-Stakes Game Between FanDuel and DraftKings That Upendet Sports in America

by Chen, Albert

Sport's Illustrated writer Albert Chen reveals the untold story behind the rollicking rise, spectacular fall, and improbable return of DraftKings and FanDuel, the two fantasy sports start-ups that paved a way for legalized sports betting in America.

BILLION DOLLAR FANTASY is the first deeply-reported book that charts the meteoric rise and the intense rivalry between companies hatched under the unlikeliest circumstances - one born out of a university in Scotland, founded by a group of non-sports fans from the United Kingdom; another in a small townhouse outside of Boston, founded by three nerds who had never started a company before. Both DraftKings and FanDuel became the most successful start-ups in the sports industry since ESPN.
Told through five central characters, the book follows parallel narratives: one centered on the entrepreneurs who made extraordinary personal sacrifices to get their start-ups off the ground and another centered on the gamblers who wagered tens of thousands of dollars each night and became millionaires playing the high stakes games - called daily fantasy games - offered by DraftKings and FanDuel. This is the first time the companies' founders talk in detail about what it was like to build billion dollar businesses and then find themselves thrown into the center of a national scandal and under FBI investigations.

But BILLION DOLLAR FANTASY taps into issues that are larger than fantasy sports, gambling, and business disruption. The story of DraftKings and FanDuel confronts the larger issues of sexism, media, and truth in the age of Twitter and corporate hubris and greed in the age of venture capital and chasing the billion dollar idea. Ultimately, BILLION DOLLAR FANTASY is aimed at the mainstream public and folds the larger history of sports gambling in America into the history of fantasy sports all while contextualizing the rise of this massive industry for non-hardore sports fans.

ALBERT CHEN has been a writer and editor at Sports Illustrated since 2000. He is currently the editor of SI's Scorecard section and oversees SI's baseball, college football, and gambling coverage. He lives in New York City.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Ronit Zafran

Available View on Rightsdesk


Billion Dollar Fantasy is The Social Network, only more scandalous. Albert Chen has written an exhilarating, cinematic account of the rapid rise and fall and rise again of a pair of odds-defying unicorns and the bootstrapping impresarios who created them. This book deserves to be devoured by gamblers and entrepreneurs, in poker rooms and boardrooms alike.

Quote: Ben Reiter, senior writer, Sports Illustrated, NYT bs author of Astroball

When FanDuel and DraftKings exploded onto the scene, I thought 'I'm not sure one of these businesses can work. How possibly can two?' In Billion Dollar Fantasy, Albert Chen answers all the questions about the strange intersection of sports, gambling, startups, and fast money that spawned these improbable companies. A great read.

Quote: Peter King, NBC Sports

Highly engrossing... A wild ride... A conventional business story, this is not. In Billion Dollar Fantasy, Albert Chen tells the story of how the improbable multi- billion-dollar daily fantasy sports industry was born with unforgettable set pieces, everywhere from Edinburgh to Vegas to, hell, even Harry Potter World. Readers are taken inside the psyches of the major players as the top companies took o , nearly crashed after the government and public turned against them and gained new life, thanks to the recent Supreme Court decision that legalized sports betting in America. This book is like fantasy sports: once you start, you won't stop.

Quote: Sean Gregory, senior correspondent, Time

A rollicking, riveting account of an improbable startup war that invaded all of our living rooms and helped paved the way for sports gambling across America. Magic/ Bird, Red Sox/Yankees, Federer/Nadal... FanDuel/DraftKings: The same rivalry dynamics that fuel such passion and tribalism in sports come alive in this addictive account that's about so much more than the business of sports. For anyone who's ever had a billion dollar fantasy, it's both an inspirational story - and a cautionary tale

Quote: L. Jon Wertheim, 60 Minutes correspondent and coauthor of NYT bs Scorecasting

BILLION DOLLAR FANTASY was optioned by Tristar Pictures

Quote: Waxman

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