Chief Financial Officer, DraftKings
In episode seventeen, we stop in Boston. Dhani Jones speaks with the CFO of DraftKings and former Operating Partner at Bain Capital Private Equity, Jason Park, how technology is revolutionizing the gaming industry.
I think, most importantly, it's when you're looking at something it's about, "Well, what are we going to do with it? What can we do that nobody else can do? Why are these two businesses better together?" And really articulating those 3, 4, 5 things really clearly.Jason Park, Chief Financial Officer, DraftKings
Jason Park joined DraftKings as Chief Financial Officer in June 2019. Jason is responsible for Accounting, FP&A, Business Planning, and Investor Relations. In addition, Jason provides strategic guidance to CEO Jason Robins and the rest of the senior management team to help boost the company’s success as more states welcome sports betting and pass laws allowing for daily fantasy sports.
Keeping your eyes on the prize in gaming M&A
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Welcome to the Pathfinders, the modern dealmaker series, brought to you by Ansarada. Now here's your host, Dhani Jones.
Dhani Jones (01:30):
Welcome back everybody to The Pathfinders, presented by Ansarada. I'm your host, former NFL player, investor and entrepreneur, Dhani Jones. Today I'm joined by Chief Financial Officer at DraftKings, Jason Park. As more states welcome sports betting and pass laws in line for daily fantasy sports, Jason has provided key strategic guidance to DraftKings that has boosted their success. Prior to joining DraftKings, Jason spent 10 years working at Bain Capital where he was an operating partner focused on technology investments. Before that, he spent nine years with McKinsey and Company. Jason joins me today to share some of his insights into the gaming industry, talk about how technology has revolutionized it, and offer his opinion for what the future holds in store as more and more companies look to investing in gaming. Welcome, Jason. How are you? I'm so excited for you to be here. Most importantly, because let's just deal with it front and center. We went to the best, the greatest, and the only university in this world. Go blue.
Jason Park (02:35):
Go blue, go blue. Colorado State, September 3rd, I checked the lines to Dhani. 27 and a half point spread, money line and minus is 5,000 over under 57.5, DraftKings.
Dhani Jones (02:51):
That's what I love about our conversation is because you have all the stats written down right there in front of you. So that was to be expected, so I appreciate it. I frankly don't have the line on what's going to happen this year, but hopefully you know what our school is going to do. What do you think Michigan is going to do this year?
Jason Park (03:09):
I'm always optimistic about the Wolverines; my family gears up for Saturday football time for daddy. And so I'm excited for college football in the NFL to be starting back up in a few weeks and it's a fun time of the year. And I just want to say I'm totally honored, humbled to be here with you. We graduated, not only did we go to University of Michigan, but we went at the same time. That was my senior year.
Dhani Jones (03:32):
I saw you all the time. What are you talking about? We were giving each other high fives, going through the Diag and hanging out all the time.
Jason Park (03:39):
Number 55, national championship team - that is a very instrumental part of my life. So thank you for everything you did on that team.
Dhani Jones (03:48):
No, well I appreciate it, I'm sure there were some days where you weren't necessarily happy with my performance. But other days that you were, and we've both been and had success in different ways. And alas, we meet here on the Pathfinders. So let's get started. One of the things that I'm always interested in when I talk to so many amazing people, including yourself. Is how people have been influenced by their early experiences and their career path in terms of how it forged their way later in life. So were there any major events or experiences in your early life that really impacted your later decisions to be where you are? Aside from Michigan, of course.
Jason Park (04:27):
Yeah, well thanks for asking, just a little bit about myself. I was born in Delaware, I moved to Atlanta in the seventh grade. I have an awesome family, super supportive mom and dad, and really my parents are - have been, continue to be - just awesome people and really pretty relaxed. And just encouraged me to find my passion in life and do something that I love doing every single day. And I'm lucky enough to have had that happen. I think in terms of an instrumental moment, I think about summer of 1993, I was doing a program at Cornell and you're taking classes and stuff. But you also choose an elective, like a career elective. And I chose business as my career elective. I'm in high school at this time, and I vividly remember going to the Corning Factory in the Corning Museum, which is not far from Ithaca. And for some reason that sticks out as a moment when we're walking the factory and everything is running through my head around production, product development, customer segmentation, pricing, distribution, manufacturing.
And I remember thinking about all the facets of a business, and I really feel like that was a moment where I just really got excited about what business was and a great facilitator for that business career elective. And that was the moment that I look back on and say, "I wanted to apply to a college that had a great undergraduate business program and then continue to pursue it." So maybe not the most exciting story, but it was probably that phase of my life when I could see all the dots of a business in real life.
Dhani Jones (06:18):
Yeah, for me, it was this moment of curiosity where I was able to run into so many different people from the Michigan background. I had a choice when I was playing football where I wanted to go to school. I didn't think I really understood at that moment because I wasn't really paying too much attention to sports. I was thinking more about my education. But the two together, once I really figured that out, after I met a couple different people that were graduates from University of Michigan. I knew that there was an ultimate path that ran right through Ann Arbor and that could take me essentially anywhere. I saw this pamphlet and I saw the Block M on top of the globe, and I was like, "School that has the audacity to say that they're greater than the world. What are you talking about?"
So I can understand when you walk in somewhere and you see all these different things and you're just wowed by it, you put all the pieces together and the matrix all of a sudden falls and you're able to read it. And so you made your way through and you began your career at McKinsey and Company, which, what was that like? I never had that opportunity to go into the consulting world and you got to do deals at a young age and you know, become a vet in the game. Were there any deals in particular that you were involved with during these days that also had a big impact? Or what was it like when you first walked in the door?
Jason Park (07:35):
There's a lot in that, but you go to Michigan, awesome school. I transferred to the undergraduate business program, which as you know, I do as a junior there. I thought I wanted to be an accountant. I was going to be an auditor. I did an internship at a big five accounting firm. And I began to, like life, you just start with a wide range of things that you could do and you start narrowing it down. And then I began to feel passionate about helping businesses and improving businesses. I continue to think that McKinsey is just one of the best places to start a career in business. Just amazing training on all the foundational skills in analytics, quantitative analytics, how to structure a problem, written communication, verbal communication, people, leadership. It's just a really great place to be in your early twenties and just soak it all in.
And I think McKinsey's known more for its management consulting, but I did get to spend about 12 or 18 months in Seoul, South Korea where that office does more M&A stuff. And did work on a few transactions over there. The most memorable was - very memorable by the way - the sale of the remaining 50% stake of Oriental Brewery’s OB Lager, a domestic beer brand to what was then known as Inner Brew. Today of course, known as AB InBev. And it was just an amazing learning experience to think about all the work that went into that. We were on the sell side, thinking about the diligence, how to value the business, macro factors around Korean consumer GDP and beer consumption. All the way down to micro factors like the cost of barley and malt. And how to model out the economics of this business so that you could come up with a fair valuation that you felt like you were going to receive as the seller of the business.
That was a long process, but so rewarding. I had great mentors around me at the time who knew a lot about M&A, and it's been fun to follow that story, Inner Brew. I think I learned a lot from Inner Brew and it made a lot of sense to me. They were this global powerhouse that had essentially technology, which was global beer brewing knowhow. Combining that with local brands and different countries around the world, it's just really, really interesting and it makes all the sense in the world in terms of their value creation plan and how they generate returns for their shareholders. And it's also been fun to watch it transpire. OB Lager ended up trading to KKR and then trading back to AB InBev, and watching-
Dhani Jones (10:20):
They were all over the place.
Jason Park (10:22):
They just trade it back and forth, watching AB InBev run that playbook in geographies all over the world. So that was certainly very, very memorable.
Dhani Jones (10:32):
I think the most important question is, did you get any beer out of it?
Jason Park (10:36):
Hard to remember, but I'm sure there was some beer consumption that went on in Seoul, South Korea.
Dhani Jones (10:44):
That's what I love about the dealmaking space is that, you not only get an opportunity to learn about businesses and you get to learn about people, but you also get to learn about the products too. I think that's one of the most fundamental pieces, and I don't think a lot of times people really can consider that. I remember having some conversations with some friends about some deals that they were doing, and I was like, "Why are you doing the deal?" They're like, "Well, I like flying, I like traveling, I like staying at different hotels." How do you think about not only the deal, but the products that you might be dealing with? So, you went through this track of McKinsey and then you went to Bain. What was the difference between the two? Because Bain is a little bit of a departure from what McKinsey might have been like. What was that experience in the transition?
Jason Park (11:31):
Yeah, I think the trajectory was moving on from McKinsey, which is clearly an advisory role type learning experience. And into being capital private equity, which is absolutely on the principle investing side and putting your own money to work behind companies that you believe in. So that was really the migration, moving from understanding businesses, thinking of ideas on how to improve performance. And then into Bain capital where you're utilizing those skills to actually make money for your investors. And really putting your own money where your mouth is on that kind of stuff.
Dhani Jones (12:09):
And some of the stuff that you're working on were tech investments and you probably were involved in some big deals and on our podcast we talk a lot about that dealmaking mindset. So what do you think are some of the key features, if you will, of operating in this type of frame of mind?
Jason Park (12:26):
So being at Bain Capital - big organization - there's a bunch of different asset classes. I was in the private equity sort of traditional leverage buyout group. And within that, there were more traditional deal side folks and I was part of the portfolio group, which really focused on working with the companies we owned. Certainly getting involved in later stage diligence, making sure that we had a view on what we thought we could do with the business.
But I think it really comes down to when you're diligent in an asset, considering buying it, just having a really strong sense of what are you going to do with it once you own it. Why? What can we do with this company that nobody else could do? And boiling that down to 3, 4, 5 (not more than that), 3, 4, 5 big value creation drivers that you think can improve the EBITDA of that business sustainably. Not short term EBITDA wins, but really to make it a better company. And why do you think you can do that when nobody else can do that? And then once you own it, making that happen over 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 years.
Dhani Jones (13:35):
And do you think one of the biggest pieces of that success is that passion and curiosity as well? Because you're looking at these businesses, you're like, "Okay, this is going to be a great company." But sometimes I think, as I've seen in some businesses, some people lose that edge and they don't necessarily want to go after and grow the business. And I always find it comes back to this lack of curiosity, lack of passion, people just get comfortable in it. How do you contemplate that as you approach the business in order to make sure that that passion and curiosity continues?
Jason Park (14:10):
Well, absolutely. I think passion, curiosity are so important. I think when you think about these investments that you're making, there's often just some - not to bring it back to football - but good old-fashioned blocking and tackling that's going to help improve the EBITDA of the business. But growth is important and you've got to get into the heads of the customers. And think about innovation and think about what we could be doing to please our customers even more. That provides incremental revenue growth opportunities to the business. So you’ve got to be passionate about understanding your customers, and not every customer's the same. So thinking about the different types of customers you have and getting curious about why do they buy your product, why don't they buy the competitor's product? What is it about your company that they like, and what more could you be doing for them? I don't think you get to those answers unless you've got some real curiosity.
Dhani Jones (15:11):
How do you get yourself hyped up? You're talking about the blocking and tackling; you could spend all this time behind the desk and looking at these different deals and you're looking at people that have that passion and curiosity. But at the same time, you have to have that drive and that motivation too. So how do you get yourself off the sidelines and into the game and what really gets you into that dealmaking mindset?
Jason Park (15:34):
Oh man, I think I'm in the game a lot, not just from the dealmaking, but just from-
Dhani Jones (15:42):
Was it two cups of coffee and four pancakes and you're just ready to rock the rock? What are you doing? How are you hyping yourself up, getting ready to go?
Jason Park (15:51):
I don't think I need… I am a ‘one cup of coffee at seven o'clock every morning’. I don't drink coffee after that. But I think more importantly, it's just laser focus on achieving that big EBITDA number that we know is possible. I'm talking about the DraftKings situation, where we're in right now. We're just laser focused on getting us to the top line and bottom line that we want to be, and knowing the path that we need to follow to get there. And then in terms of dealmaking, certain things fit to accelerate that path, certain things don't, but you’ve got to have that goal in mind. And that's what gets me fired up is knowing that big revenue, big EBITDA number is right there. We got to run at it. We got to state disciplined along the way. That's plenty of fire in the belly for me.
Dhani Jones (16:40):
Well, I want to talk a lot about DraftKings, but I want to come back to one question about Bain Capital. Just there might be an impact in that moment when you were able to see where you wanted to go in life. Were there any specific deals that you did at Bain that you could talk about that all of a sudden got you to think about dealmaking differently? Because each stop along the way, each conversation that we had, each deal, each EBITDA that we're trying to reach, affects us. So was there something specifically along the way that allowed you to think differently or maybe the same way or confirm the way that you were thinking about that dealmaking mindset from that point on?
Jason Park (17:23):
Yeah, I learned so much at Bain Capital. I worked with such amazing people, I’m so thankful for my time there. That is the number one thing, just to know the three, four or five most important value creation drivers and be relentless and consistent about attacking those and making improvements on those things. Focus and prioritization, that's certainly not something I had going into Bain Capital and it’s something I learned along the way.
What comes to mind right now is I had the fortune of working in some club deals with Blackstone, Advent; I worked with Berkshire Partners on a couple club deals. And it was always - I think that those were moments working with those folks that I saw the consistency in our approach and their approach. Which is just coming back to this like, "Look, there's three - there's not a lot of things. There's 3, 4, 5 things we need to get really right." And this thing is going to generate a lot more sustainable EBITDA. So I think not only did I learn a ton from my own colleagues at Bain Capital, but having the opportunity to see other folks in action and that consistent approach of focus and prioritization.
Dhani Jones (18:39):
So you got all these business going on and then you have this opportunity. And I think when most people think about DraftKings, they think about fantasy sports. It's the biggest, it's the best and you all have done a phenomenal job. But is this something that you were interested in before you got involved with the business? Or the business was like, "Jason, you're the man - now go figure out fantasy sports."
Jason Park (19:04):
If I'm totally honest, I think I did one season long fantasy in my life. And then-
Dhani Jones (19:11):
Which, by the way, did you see any of the shows that I did when I was doing some fantasy sports? Did you see the stuff I did?
Jason Park (19:16):
I did not. I did not.
Dhani Jones (19:18):
Oh, come on Jason, you're supposed to watch some of the stuff that I did. So you can critique my picks - this is back in the day.
Jason Park (19:25):
It's nothing personal, I just don't watch a lot of TV generally. So it was less about daily fantasy and more about what I saw on the sports betting and eye gaming horizon. And knowing that these guys were for sure, the daily fantasy leader and that competitive advantage that it brought them to pivot and transition into sports betting. I just saw all that, to put it in perspective, I joined, and I think we were live in one state for less than a year with sports betting. We were live in one state for iGaming in just about five months, and we're now in 18 states, soon to be 23 states. And it's just been explosive growth and it was really that, that got me so fired up to come join Jason, Paul and Matt and the rest of the team here. Just the massive growth that I could see on the horizon.
Dhani Jones (20:57):
I'm wondering, back in 2020 when you know played a key role in DraftKings listing on Nasdaq following the SPAC merger. And the Boston Business Journal was quoted saying, you said, "It was the right vehicle for us at the time." And this is what they exactly said. So I'm going to read it. Tell us, the press said, "It was the deal of the year." How did you make that happen?
Jason Park (21:47):
Well, there were a lot of people involved and that was definitely very nice of the BBJ to write that. It was a ton of work to put it in perspective, this was October 2019 through April 2020, deciding to go public via SPAC, raising the pipe. Remember, part of the reason why the SPAC was the right vehicle is that we wanted to acquire SB Tech. And I'll come back to why SB Tech was important in a minute. Decided to do the SPAC, we've raised the pipe. We had to basically get to definitive documentation with the company we were going to acquire in parallel with the SPAC. We had to get all of our financials in order, the S four effective with the SSC. We hosted an investor day on March 12th, 2020. March 11th is sort of when the world shut down. I'll never forget this. March 11th is the day-
Dhani Jones (22:43):
Oh, I remember it.
Jason Park (22:44):
... Yeah, March 11th is the day that the NBA season gets postponed. So it was a pretty nuts time period. Wouldn't trade it for the world. It was an amazing experience. COVID happened March and April. I'm in the attic, my wife is putting food outside my door because I wasn't leaving the attic. We were just working nonstop during that period. So it was an unbelievably busy but rewarding period of time. And just coming back to why it was the SPAC the right vehicle, and obviously the SPAC craze took off in a big way after us - not because of us, but after us. And we did it because we wanted to acquire SB Tech and access the public markets at the same time. And SB Tech is to put it shortly as a bet engine technology provider. So they are the guys that actually run all of the bets that we offer on our app.
And we were renting that technology at the time from one of the big global leaders in bet engine services. But we knew that if we wanted to be a real leader in this industry, we had to own our own technology so that we could drive differentiation. Back to my point around customers and being passionate about understanding and listening to your customers. We knew that innovation was going to play a big role in this industry and we couldn't innovate on bets if we didn't own our own bet engines. So we wanted to acquire SB Tech and go public simultaneously, which is why for us, this SPAC was a really good vehicle.
Dhani Jones (24:15):
And so the headlines keep popping up for you all as you guys are rolling up some really amazing businesses as you just recently completed the acquisition of Golden Nugget online. How is that going to impact DraftKings? And the most important thing with any company, is reaching those customer segments.
Jason Park (24:33):
Yeah. I'm super excited about Golden Nugget. We closed it in May of this year. Just a great team with Thomas Winter coming on board as part of our executive team now. And I'll bring it back to my, maybe what's emerging as the theme of the day, which is just having a really clear value creation plan for any acquisition you're doing. And for Golden Nugget it was so… it made all the sense in the world, which is we knew we could do three things when we owned it. And there were three reasons why we were better together. One, we knew on the top line that our marketing scale, our marketing knowhow could turbocharge that Golden Nugget brand and the revenues that came from it. Not only could we get just simple scale purchasing power on marketing assets, but we could, like I said, just bring all that muscle we have on understanding customers, media myths. Knowing what messages would resonate with that customer segment.
So that was number one. We knew we could turbocharge the top line. Number two, we knew that we could improve the gross margin rate of that business because DraftKings, we have our own iGaming technology in house, our iGaming aggregator. We have a lot of homegrown games where more than 50% of our iGaming business is on our own products that we create. So those are essentially free to us from a gross margin perspective. And we knew that we could get Golden Nugget onto our platform, because they were primarily renting. And number three, we knew that there was a little bit of GNA optimization that could occur between the two businesses. That was the thesis. And it's coming to life; we're well underway on the post-merger integration and super excited. And that really feels like one where the outside in diligence and underwriting has dovetailed really nicely into the post-merger value creation plan.
Dhani Jones (26:33):
And as you are personally thinking about acquisitions and you're thinking about this world of M&A of which you've come from. Are these always the principles that you have in the back of your mind? Or are there some other nuances that are incorporated into it from your own past experiences that give you your own specific perspective that can help the business?
Jason Park (26:58):
Yeah, I think it's both. I think, most importantly, it's when you're looking at something it's about, "Well, what are we going to do with it? What can we do that nobody else can do? Why are these two businesses better together?" And really articulating those 3, 4, 5 things really clearly. Quantifying them, talking about the synergized EBITDA - synergy is a little bit of a buzzword, but it does mean something. And why financially is this better together, bringing that all the way back to valuation and what you're willing to pay for it.
You shouldn't pay for those synergies because those are things that only you can bring to the table. So I'd say that it really is, the core investment thesis has to revolve around those 3, 4, 5 things that you think you can do that nobody else can do. And a little bit of that X factor too, which is, "Hey, there could be a couple other exciting things that come with this deal that in and of themselves may not justify the acquisition. But once we have it, you might have a couple other exciting little tidbits that come with it as well."
Dhani Jones (28:13):
Yeah, because agreeing to the deal is the very beginning of the relationship.
Jason Park (28:18):
Dhani Jones (28:20):
And when we think about the dealmaking mindset, it's also the post-deal integration. So how do you contemplate that? Because some situations do really well, other times it's a little bit more challenging. You go into it with a thought, but with that dealmaking mindset, you always want something to end well in order to add to everybody's bottom line. How do you approach post-deal integration?
Jason Park (28:44):
Absolutely though, post-deal integration - bringing two companies together - takes a ton of energy. Things can go well, things can go wrong. What I'd say is it's got to be a combination of some clinical, tactical things you've got to get right. Combined with that constant focus on that underwriting thesis or value creation plan like, "Why did we do this deal?" So on the clinical side, I always talk about how you’ve got to get a few things right. You’ve got to get the people master right, or employee master. You’ve got to get your customer master right, your vendor master, your product master. You’ve just got to bring the companies together from sort of how the engine runs every single day.
And those four things are super important to get really crystal clear and clean as the two businesses come together. And employee masters are a really simple one, which is bringing the two organizations together. Do we know who's reporting to who? Do we know the titles? Do we know the locations? Do we know their existing or new boss? Are they getting their paycheck from the same paycheck system that the acquiring company? All those things are super clinical and tactical, but you got to get all of that super right. But you can't lose focus of why we did this deal either. And you got to stay focused on the EBITDA mover, needle movers as well. You got to do both parts really, really well.
Dhani Jones (30:15):
Because I think about it's like you're in the honeymoon phase when everything starts to come together. And then it really starts to work after the deal gets consumed and then you kind of put your heads down and say, "Okay, look, we did this in order to grow the business, so let's go." And so the world of consolidation is happening all around your industry, especially sports betting and iGaming, and it's going to shape the future of the industry. So what are your thoughts on this and what do you see as some of the benefits of sports betting operators becoming the cornerstone of broader sports media and entertainment ecosystems? Because I'm watching some of my friends that are joining some of the platforms and it's just this interesting world that is ultimately colliding. And I don't know if people would've thought about that five years ago. The whole industry is being disrupted.
Jason Park (31:06):
So first off, just in terms of the sports betting and iGaming operator world, I think you're right. I think the consolidation will continue to happen. I think the people who are staying really close to it and paying close attention realized that, wow, this is actually pretty consolidated already. Where the top three operators are roughly 80% of the market already. And then you do have a tail of single digit market share players that are subscale. And I think you're right. I think the consolidation will probably continue to occur. That doesn't mean that we're a consolidator. But the share will probably continue to consolidate to the big guys who have that, they're typically described as having that in-house technology that I mentioned, some advantage. Customer acquisition play for us; that's the DFS database that we can cross sell from. We basically have a database of a lot of American sports fans and we know their favorite teams, favorite sports, what time of the day they like to utilize the app.
We have a lot of information on those folks and that's a real advantage when it comes to acquisition. So there's a reason why the top three commands so much of the market share. So who knows, but I think you're right. I think it continues to consolidate. And then in terms of your other question, just the world of sports betting and sports media colliding, I think you're seeing it already. I think - big picture - this was really exciting for the media companies, it's well known that sports betting helps drive viewership and not just viewership broadly. It drives viewership in the fourth quarter of a blowout because that over under is still in play.
Dhani Jones (32:53):
It means something to you.
Jason Park (32:57):
They're still, right... So you're tuned in all the way through the final whistle. So I think the worlds are colliding already. There's a bunch of exciting things that we're doing in terms of appealing to that sports-better with shows on advice. It sounds like we should have been broadcasting Dhani back in the day on your daily fantasy picks. But more content like that; we're utilizing influencers on their predictions, their parlay of the day already. So I think a lot more to come, but certainly lots of reasons for those worlds to continue to collide.
Dhani Jones (33:37):
How do you think about new technology developments? This is part of your background and now you're deep into this gaming industry. You've got to see some of the tech that's out there impacting the way that you guys look at your business.
Jason Park (33:52):
Absolutely. There's a bunch of layers, I think. The simplest layer is constantly bringing new, exciting games to our customers, new game formats for iGaming. We brought Rocket, which you should try one day; it's one of our best selling games for iGaming. We've got more same game parlays on the sports betting sites. So that's one important but relatively simple way that we should constantly be using technology to bring more and new exciting things to our customers. We just launched DraftKings Reignmakers, which is our NFT gamification product. It's off to a fantastic start.
And this is a way that you can use NFTs and open packs to get player cards and enter contests to build a fantasy sports lineup. But you need that player card to build the lineups that you want. So you got to buy packs like when you and I were kids and we bought baseball cards and that moment of opening a pack and looking through and seeing who you have. We've replicated that with NFTs and that's a really new and exciting new vertical for us that we just launched in the last month. And I think there's a whole bunch of other stuff that could come on the horizon too.
Dhani Jones (35:15):
The technology's just going in so many different directions, but to your point, it's all about that fan engagement. It's all about how deep you can get into the game itself. It's about fourth and one in the fourth quarter and over the under, it's just so much. And I think technology-
Jason Park (35:34):
Are they going to run it? Are they going to pass it on fourth and-
Dhani Jones (35:36):
Like very simple things. So just two more questions, one serious one, and then a nice fun one as we close out for the Pathfinders on this episode, and I appreciate it, again. You all are operating in more and more markets. What are your thoughts on the way that states are opening up for business? And will this, you think the trend will continue and what does that mean for DraftKings long term?
Jason Park (36:01):
Yeah, so to put it in perspective, sports betting, we’re live in just about 40% of the US population already. It's been four years since PASPA was overturned, so roughly 10% a year. It's pretty fast and really that's consistent with what we thought would happen over this time period. And that number I just threw out doesn't include the pipeline of states that have already legalized but haven't launched yet. So we've got Kansas, Maryland, Puerto Rico, O-H-I-O, Massachusetts-
Dhani Jones (36:41):
We don't have to worry about that state.
Jason Park (36:44):
Oh, so Kansas, Maryland, Puerto Rico, Ohio, Massachusetts… these have all been legalized and as soon as the regulators, all the licensing processes are done; they're just legalized pending launch. So I absolutely see the trend continuing. When we talked to investors, we said, "Well, maybe 60 to 70% of the US population will have access to legalized online sports betting." And we're approaching that pretty quickly and a real chance to surpass it.
Dhani Jones (37:17):
Well, I see nothing but positive growth and a strong business. So I appreciate your continued efforts as you bolster the business. The last question, we always talk about this on the Pathfinders is we call it meals and deals. So tell us the story of your favorite deal and maybe a celebrated meal, something, maybe it was when SPAC happened, maybe it was, I don't know, kid's birthday, I don't know, some type of deal. It could be all the way back to your McKinsey days or your Bain days, something that was your favorite deal or a celebratory meal.
Jason Park (37:57):
Oh man. I'm not much of a foodie, so I don't think about food too much, but I'd have to say that was a pretty monumental day in April of 2020 when that ticker changed to DKNG. But that was the heart of the lockdown, the heart of the beginning. So I think it was Jason; Jason sent a bottle of Dom to my house and said thank you. And so it's not really a meal, but my wife and I did enjoy a bottle of champagne that night. And that bottle of champagne sits on our kitchen window sill. So that's pretty memorable. We didn't really get to celebrate in person for another 15 or 16 months. We did have a nice dinner in New York as the whole executive team, including the board and lots of investors who had been with us on the journey up until that point. So I've got that memory in my head too.
Dhani Jones (38:54):
Well, congratulations on all your success and your continued hard work. I appreciate all of the words of advice and the way that you think about that dealmaking mindset. And thank you Jason, for being with us on The Pathfinders.
Jason Park (39:09):
Thank you Dhani, again honored and humbled to have been considered for this. I hope your listeners didn't find that too boring.
Dhani Jones (39:16):
They were taking notes meticulously. All right, thanks Jason. A special thanks again to Jason Park for being with us today. It's really amazing to see the work that he's doing to revolutionize the gaming industry and learn how DraftKings is coming at investing and dealmaking from a whole new perspective. If you're joining the Pathfinders, please make sure to leave a review so more people can find the show. Till next time, I'm Dhani Jones and this has been the Pathfinders presented by Ansarada.