Documentary to Focus on DraftKings, FanDuel

Few industries have experienced the extreme highs and lows that daily fantasy sports (DFS) have seen over the past two years. And documentary filmmaker Evan Rosenfeld finds this subject so fascinating that he made a movie about DraftKings and FanDuel – the world’s two biggest DFS sites.

“These two corporation were run very differently and they were really going after each other,” said Rosenfeld. “Now, they are fighting for their existence. Maybe the only way they are going to survive is if they join forces. The battle is real.”

Rosenfeld, the executive producer of Vice World of Sports, refers to the merger rumors surrounding DraftKings and FanDuel. Neither company has commented on the matter, but a merger would make sense, given the increasing legal and legislative costs that both companies are facing.

This is a very different scene from the summer of 2015, when commercials for DraftKings and Fanduel were airing regularly ahead of the NFL season. Now, they face numerous legal challenges from different states, which view DFS as illegal gambling.

New York is one of these state, as attorney general Eric Schneiderman sued both sites for violating New York gambling laws. The lawsuit has been suspended while the state works out legislation that would clear the way for both sites to operate in the state.

Rosenfeld’s documentary, The Line, which covers the rise and struggles of DFS, is available on the Viceland channel, or online through a cable or satellite subscription.

USA Today reports that The Line was originally supposed to be about sports betting, but the rising popularity of DFS changed Rosenfeld’s direction.

“Daily fantasy kind of tabled the discussion on the legalization of traditional sports betting,” he explained.

The 30-minute documentary includes a segment at the end about professional DFS players.

“I learned that this can be more than just a hobby,” said Rosenfeld. “This has turned into a career for many and they approach it like it’s the stock market. These aren’t shady or seedy guys. A lot of them are lawyers and other professionals.”

While DFS pros may not be shady, many question the perception that DraftKings/FanDuel have created that anybody can win.

Last year, sports betting millionaire Haralabos Voulgaris pointed out how the average player is at a huge disadvantage compared to seasoned professionals.

“If the actual casual viewer, watching these commercials and signing up, knew they weren’t competing against other like-minded people like themselves,” explained Voulgaris, “that they’re competing against professionals who have algorithms and thousands and thousands of entries in all these tournaments, they would realize that their chances of winning are really not that good and it’s really not as exciting as they think it is.”

Schneiderman and other state attorney generals have pointed out how DFS gives off the false impression that any casual fan can win. And this is one of the arguments being presented to keep DFS out of certain states until they decided to regulate the activity.