DraftKings has never been shy about pushing the envelope. That’s what helped the company climb from being a startup to an industry leader in daily fantasy sports (DFS).
The gaming giant has begun to do the same within the world of sports betting. DraftKings is off to a fast start as it races to become a market leader in every legal, regulated state.
The company is making waves once again with the recently announced DraftKings Championship Series. Building off of the success of its stellar DFS track record and the inaugural 2019 DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship (SBNC), things are getting kicked up a notch for 2020.
The DraftKings Championship Series will feature over 40 contests and a staggering $100 million total prize pool. It’s a mix of DFS and sports betting, and there are several ways to get involved.
The DraftKings Championship Series doesn’t just revolve around sports betting. There will be 41 DFS contests sprinkled throughout the year as well, six of which will be live final events.
The crown jewel of the DFS portion of the festivities is the DraftKings Fantasy Tournament of Champions, which has a $1 million top prize. The live event coincides with the Big Game in Tampa, FL.
Those who qualify for the final will not only get the chance to compete for mind-blowing prizes, but they will also be the guest of DraftKings at the big game. There are 40 qualifying events for players to set their sights on:
The DFS live final events are already highly sought after tickets. It’s safe to say the competition will be even more fierce this time around with so much at stake. Here’s what we know about all five live finals for the DraftKings Championship Series.
The first of the live final events took place in Nashville, TN, on Feb. 29, with 40 qualifiers competing for an impressive set of prizes. All told, it was a $500,000 guaranteed prize pool with a top prize of $100,000, a runner-up prize of $60,000, and $40,000 to third place. All 40 qualifiers won prizes, with the minimum set at $4,000.
Important notice from DraftKings as of March 13 re. Fantasy Basketball Championship:
“Unfortunately, due to escalating health concerns related to COVID-19 and guidance from government agencies, among others, DraftKings has decided to … suspend the Fantasy Basketball World Championship. While DraftKings wants to hold the FBWC at a later date if and when NBA play resumes, DraftKings cannot provide any further details until we learn more about the NBA’s decision.”
There will be 100 qualifiers competing for the $4 million guaranteed prize pool. The top prize is $500,000, second place gets $350,000, and $250,000 goes to third.
All 100 participants win prizes with the minimum set at $15,000.
While we have full details on the first two live final events, the specifics on the last three are still to be announced:
The golf live final will take place from Aug. 13-16. To qualify for these live finals, it’s the same process as for the hockey and basketball events. Qualifying tournaments will occur throughout the respective seasons at varying price points. The top finisher in each of those tournaments will punch their tickets to the live final.
In addition to the live final events, there will also be a quintet of online fantasy championships as part of the DraftKings Championship Series. Here are the dates as announced so far:
Players can find qualifying tournaments for each of the online fantasy championships in the DraftKings lobby. It’s the same concept as live final qualifiers: The top finisher earns a ticket to the event.
No word yet on if there will be any direct buy-ins for the online championships.
On the sports betting front, the inaugural DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship took place in January 2019 with a guaranteed prize pool of $2.5 million.
This year, DraftKings will host two live sports betting championship events throughout the year.
DraftKings’ Fall Championship will come our way during football season. Though the details are still TBD, it’s safe to assume it’ll be a similar concept to last year’s National Championship.
The 2020 series wraps up with the DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship (SBNC) event, which will feature a top prize of $1 million.
Dates and location should be announced shortly. Winner of the Fall event automatically qualifies for the national championship. There will also be a direct buy-in option.
DraftKings Championship Series events are open to players across the US although the live sports betting events are physically located in New Jersey. You can gain entry to the live sports betting events by winning a qualifying DFS tournament or directly buying in.
DFS qualifiers are tournament-style games in which the top prize is a ticket to a DraftKings sports betting live championship.
DFS contests are open to players in 40-plus states. Even if your state hasn’t given the green light to sports betting, you’ll likely be able to enter and play DFS. As of now, the only states in which DFS is not available are Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, and Washington state.
For those in states where both DFS and sports betting are legal, such as Indiana, you can qualify via DFS or buy-in directly with $5,000 from your sports betting account and travel to New Jersey to play.
The DraftKings Fall Sports Betting Spring Championship and National Championships are expected to be four-day events.
Entrants take a set bankroll to start with (taken from their entry fee), which they then use to bet on eligible sports games. The player who has the highest bankroll after all bets settle takes home the top prize.
All participants get to go home with their final bankroll and the top 25 finishers earn additional leaderboard prizes. Here’s a sample payout schedule for the DraftKings Sports Betting Fall Championship:
Please note: The above pay table is based on an estimated 535 entrants. If the number of entrants is more than that, the payout amounts will increase accordingly. The number of paid places on the leaderboard may rise as well.
Rules for the DraftKings Sports Betting Championships will entail:
There are two ways to be eligible for a DraftKings Sports Betting Championship.
First, players can gain entry by winning a qualifying DFS tournament on DraftKings in which the top prize is a seat at the live final, which is worth either $5,000 or $10,000.
As mentioned earlier, DFS is available for play in 40-plus states across the US. In addition to entry to the event, qualifying tournament winners receive $1,000 for travel expenses and a four-night hotel stay.
Secondly, there’s a direct buy-in option. The price tag will either be $5,000 of $10,000. If you’re interested in learning more, just email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional details.
The Fall Championship series is likely to be football-based although professional baseball is also running at that time.
The 2020 DraftKings Championship Series will conclude with the second edition of the DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship. We’re still waiting on the details for this one as well, but here’s what we know for now:
We can expect a similar setup to the Fall event albeit with a larger total prize pool. The first edition of the DraftKings’ SBNC coincided with the weekend of the football divisional playoffs in 2019. It also took place in NJ.
The event attracted more than 250 participants and featured a $2.5 million guaranteed prize pool with $1 million going to the winner. Randy Lee, screen name “rleejr86,” took it down when all was said and done thanks to a correct wager on Philadelphia +8.5 points versus New Orleans.
The total number of entrants for the 2020 DraftKings SBNC isn’t known yet, but we do know that there will be a $1 million top prize.
For the spring championship, the current pay table is based on 535 participants, but there could be more. The prize pool will be adjusted accordingly if that comes to pass. As of now, the top prize is $500,000 for the spring event.
Yes, in addition to potentially winning prizes, all users get to go home with their final bankroll. For example, users begin with a $2,000 bankroll at the spring championship.
Let’s say the entrant builds their bankroll up to $10,000 after the event. The total $10,000 bankroll will be theirs to keep.
The Sports Betting Spring Championship has a direct buy-in of $5,000. The fee to enter the fall championship event hasn’t been unveiled as of yet, but we anticipate it’ll be the same as the spring event.
As for the DraftKings SBNC, the direct buy-in amount is $10,000.
They are both a part of the DraftKings Championship Series, but they are separate events.
On the DFS side, players can qualify for both online and live final. For sports betting, users can be eligible either by directly buying into the event or winning a DFS contest.
The first DraftKings SBNC was in NJ during the NFL divisional playoffs in 2019. Randy Lee won and took home the top prize of $1 million as he finished with a final bankroll of $101,474.
The DFS championship events for the DraftKings Championship Series will be a combination of live and online final events. These contests will revolve around DFS for various sports, including hockey, basketball, and baseball. The sports betting championship events revolve around betting only and has specific rules to serve as a guide.
Not entirely, but a portion of the buy-in amount is used for bankroll. For example, the Sports Betting Spring Championship event has a $5,000 buy-in, which is broken down as follows: $2,000 is reserved for the bankroll, $2,800 goes toward the prize pool and $200 goes to DraftKings as an administrative fee.
Each of the DraftKings championship series sports betting live events will have a wide betting selection.
For example, the Sports Betting Spring Championship coincides with the first two rounds of March Madness, which offers 48 games. Players can also bet on NBA games throughout the event. There are 28 NBA games scheduled over those four days.
“Grading” a bet means that it must meet a few qualifying standards to be an acceptable bet.
In basketball, for example, games need to go at least 43 minutes to be officially graded. Total points/win bets also include overtimes, etc.
DraftKings uses a third-party operator for the grading of bets at sports betting championship events. The wagers are graded at an event or market level. All contestants are subject to the same grading rules for each of their bets.