Nigel Eccles, co-founder and CEO of daily fantasy sports (DFS) giant FanDuel, announced that Monday was his last day at the company. Matt King, the CFO of FanDuel from 2014-2016 will step into Eccles’ vacated role. Between his previous stint at FanDuel and now, King was equity partner and President of Regional Operations and Corporate Development at Cottingham & Butler.
“Excited but a little bit sad to be leaving @fanduel today,” Eccles tweeted. “It has been an amazing 8 years. Really excited to see how Matt King and the team drive the company in 2018 and beyond. For me I’m building something awesome in eSports. Watch this space.”
Though DraftKings is the DFS market leader, it really was Eccles’ FanDuel that launched industry. Traditional, season-long fantasy sports have been popular for multiple decades now, but DFS has really only been a thing for less than ten years. It was born largely out of the UIGEA, which while hurting online poker, contained a carveout for fantasy sports. Eccles founded FanDuel in 2009 and grew it to the biggest player in the space until DraftKings eclipsed them a few years later. FanDuel is still the second largest DFS site in the industry.
In a statement on FanDuel’s website, Eccles said of Matt King:
With his strategic vision, range of experiences, and broad skillset, I cannot imagine a better individual to steer FanDuel forward. With tremendous legislative strides in the past two years and the business moving into profitability in Q4, FanDuel is in a great position. I know Matt is the leader to capitalize on the momentum in the sports technology space to take FanDuel to the next level.
King himself said, “It’s an incredible honor to return to FanDuel at such an exciting time for the company. Over the past eight years, Nigel has built one of the most disruptive companies in the sports world. I look forward to working with our talented team to make FanDuel the place for fans to engage with sports they love in new and exciting ways.”
The FanDuel Board said in a statement:
Nigel achieved something remarkable — he completely redefined an existing industry. His passion, intelligence, and focus have been the bedrock of FanDuel’s success. We would like to offer our sincere thanks as he leaves to pursue his next venture. We are excited to work with Matt again. He is an exceptional executive who knows the business intimately, and has a clear vision for its next phase of growth.
Aside from essentially creating the DFS industry and elevating FanDuel to its position of prominence, one impressive feat Eccles had a hand in was getting the professional sports leagues to see DFS as a legitimate recreational activity, even though many consider it gambling. Of course, much of that has to do with the leagues enjoyment of the money that DFS helps generate, but nonetheless, that FanDuel has partnered with half of the NBA and NFL teams (and DraftKings essentially the other half), is quite the accomplishment.