Matt Kalish Goes Deep on Reignmakers in Podcast
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In the latest Brandon Adams Podcast, host Brandon Adams chatted with DraftKings co-founder Matt Kalish, as the two touched on a variety of topics relevant to DraftKings' new NFT-powered game, Reignmakers. Listed below is a summary of the discussion by topic:
- Adams asked Kalish why there are so many contests in the lobby, instead of having fewer contests with larger prize pools, or one contest per tier with a massive prize pool. Kalish mentioned the team envisions something like a "blind auction" approach, where bidders can place their tickets into the box with the best prize understanding the odds of winning are lower or a box with a lesser prize and less compeition. Offering a variety of contests is also important when it comes to live final qualifiers, as some people may not be able to attend the live final and shouldn't be forced into that prize.
- Kalish acknowledged that right now, it's difficult to predict exactly how many cards will be in circulation when the season kicks off, but things are expected to become more clear as we get closer to Week 1. This is because Genesis and Elevate cards (the current sets in circulation) have more fixed supplies, while the main "Momentum" set that has not yet been released will be larger and more accessible to casual players. This morning, DraftKings delayed their next pack drop from September 1 and a new date has not yet been set.
- Adams asked Kalish whether on field player production will be taken into account in regards to a collector's Franchise Score. Kalish confirmed on field production is not a part of Franchise Score, meaning a Genesis Core card of a star player will count the same as a Genesis Core card of a bench player when it comes to this program. Kalish described Franchise Score as a way of measuring quality and depth of a collector's collection, noting there is a desire to ensure all cards across the spectrum have some utility.
Unfamiliar with Franchise Score? Be sure to check out our DraftKings Reignmakers how-to guide.
Deep Roster Format
- Deep Roster Format is a new game mode that will be launching in Week 4 of the NFL season. Deep Roster Format will add value to kickers and defenders (positions which are undervalued in the current slate of conests) by requiring their inclusion in lineups. The positional requirements of the Deep Roster Format will be as follows:
- 1 quarterback
- 2 running backs
- 2 wide receivers
- 1 tight end
- 1 flex
- 1 kicker
- 1 defender
- There will be approximately $200,000 in prizes up for grabs each week in Deep Roster contests starting in Week 4, and this new game mode is meant to "help enhance the intent around why you'd want to hold a deeper set of cards," according to Kalish.
- There has been a lot of speculation around the utility 2022 cards will have in future seasons, and Adams asked Kalish to shed some light on the topic. Kalish confirmed that "all prior year cards will have gameplay utility," and that utility will include:
- Franchise Score benefits: past season cards will count towards a collector's Franchise Score in future seasons, though prior season cards count only 10% as much as cards from the current year.
- There will be contests that require cards from previous seasons, including free contests offered by DraftKings and pay-to-enter contests with larger prize pools.
- There will be a burn mechanic that will allow a collector to burn cards from a prior season in order to upgrade cards from the current year.
- Cards from past seasons will still have some utility when it comes to Achievements and Missions (DraftKings rewards programs).
- Adams asked Kalish whether collectors will ever be able to move their collection off DraftKings, onto a hardware wallet or NFT marketplace like OpenSea. Kalish does expect this will happen, but likely not until after the first season. Kalish noted that the utility of the cards exists on DraftKings' platform and it doesn't make a ton of sense to move the cards off-platform during the season. And with the DraftKings Marketplace being fairly liquid with thousands of transactions per day through the first few weeks, there is less of a need to leverage a third party marketplace like OpenSea. Still, Kalish recognizes self-custody is an important aspect of the NFT and crypto ecosystems and wants to allow this ability for "more advanced use cases that don't apply to most people."
- There have been reports of suspected bot activity on the platform where deals on the marketplace are sniped within seconds, and Kalish noted this is against DraftKings' terms of service. Kalish added, "We have really good detection of these sorts of things at the company," due to the company's history in the regulated daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry.
Reignmaker Tier Prizes
- Adams mentioned that Reignmaker tier packs (the most expensive in the game, costing $29,999) were not selling well, with only two purchases so far (of 20 total packs) and noted that some high stakes players were expecting a larger percentage of the prize pool to be allocated to Reignmaker tier contests. Kalish said, much like in DFS, the largest prize pools correspond to the "mid-tier", or the middle of a bell curve, though he acknowledges that some collectors were expecting more of a "mountain slope" approach where the prize pools increase at each tier. In DFS, the Millionaire Maker, which typically has a $20 buy-in, often features the week's largest prize pool. With that being said, Kalish expects many more users will funnel into the platform in the days leading up to the NFL season opener on September 8.
Prize Pools After Week 1
- Kalish also confirmed the prize pools in Weeks 2 and beyond will be similar to those offered in Week 1. Kalish called Week 1 contests "generally representative, plus or minus like 10%" in terms of what collectors can expect moving forward.
- One key topic of speculation has revolved around the game's "SuperStar" status. Each Reignmakers lineup can contain only one "SuperStar" player and Adams asked Kalish whether the players that are considered SuperStars will change throughout the season. Kalish confirmed this classification can change throughout the season, telling collectors to "try to factor that in, think about the prospect of like, what would happen if that were to happen midseason" to a player. DraftKings is working on more black and white guidelines to help inform collectors how exactly this status will be determined moving forward.
- Finally, the duo spent some time talking about the 10% marketplace fee on the Reignmakers platform. Kalish said he is "trying to find the right balance that just like makes sense for the game to exist at all," acknowledging that a large portion of the fees go to the NFL Players Association, with whom DraftKings has partnered on the project.
Watch the interview in its entirety here.
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