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DraftKings VP gives the rundown on fantasy sports

Featured Events | Feb 13, 2017 |

Mark Nerenberg, right, DraftKings’ vice president of game operations and development, speaks to Gabelli School students and moderator Associate Professor Mark Conrad, left, about his experience in the fantasy sports business.

You can’t always be at the field or in the stadium of your favorite sports team, but DraftKings offers what many fans see as a fairly comparable alternative.

The site is a platform for what it calls “skill-based daily fantasy sports,” in which players work with a theoretical salary budget to create their own fantasy team, which can then be entered into a contest to win actual cash—or just bragging rights.

Mark Nerenberg, vice president of game operations and development at DraftKings’ New York office, recently spoke at Fordham, describing how his love of sports developed into a full-fledged career.

Nerenberg spent two years as a derivatives trader at Citigroup before co-founding DraftStreet, a daily fantasy sports provider that was acquired by DraftKings in 2014. He since has led a group at DraftKings that brought five new sports to the platform.

“Launching new sports is the most exciting part,” Nerenberg said.

He also discussed how the acquisition of his original business affected him and the differences in culture between the two companies.

“For the most part, it was as seamless as anyone could have thought,” Nerenberg said. “The skills and talents that DraftStreet brought [to the equation] were the holes at DraftKings. “For me, it was a little bit tougher. You know, you get attached … it’s your identity when you start your own business.”

The question-and-answer session that followed covered a wide range of topics, from licensing new sports to adapting to organizational changes to the future of fantasy sports in general.

“We just got a skilled-gaming license through [the nation of] Malta, and through that, we can operate in every country in the EU,” Nerenberg offered as an example. “We think international [expansion] is definitely going to be huge in the future.”

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