EXCLUSIVE: The rise of daily fantasy sports via sites like FanDuel and DraftKings has captivated millions of sports fans — and several states’ attorneys general — and now the saga is being developed as a major studio film. TriStar Pictures just optioned movie rights for an upcoming book described as “The Big Short in the world of daily fantasy sports” for Appian Way and The Gotham Group to produce.
The book, The Big Game, will go through Houghton-Mifflin next year and is expected to be the definitive look at the scandal that rocked sports fans across the nation. It is being authored by Albert Chen, a staff writer for Sports Illustrated who covers baseball, the NFL and college football. The story will follow the scandal involving DraftKings and FanDuel, the daily fantasy sports sites that quickly amassed hundreds of millions of dollars before prosecutors from several states began coming down on them, saying the outfits should be defined as online gambling operations.
The daily fantasy sports industry, where anyone can bet and play, has grown into a multibillion-dollar business but had been unregulated. That has just started to change as recently as the past two months it has become legal — and regulated — in the state of Massachusetts and New York, with other states still considering what to do.
The story about the scandal was the subject of an ESPN investigative report published just yesterday. The film will focus on this high-stakes world, its colorful cast of characters and how this cult obsession became an instantaneous national pastime. The film will look at all sides of the issue.
The idea for the book was the brainchild of Gotham’s Jeremy Bell, and he and Gotham CEO Ellen Goldsmith-Vein took idea to book agent Scott Waxman, who then brought in Chen to write the proposal. The current title for the book is The Big Game: Daily Fantasy And The High Stakes Battle For Fans, Fortune And Survival.
Gotham/Waxman next sold the proposal to Houghton-Mifflin at auction, and then Appian Way came on board as producing partner with Gotham. Goldsmith-Vein and Bell will produce from the Gotham side.
Chen is repped by Waxman at Waxman Leavell on the book side and Gotham Group on the film side.