BOSTON — In the heart of Boston’s Back Bay, in a building with a taco shop, Bank of America and Panera on the first floor, resides one of the biggest players in daily fantasy sports and sports betting. On the fifth floor of the brick-and-stone building at 222 Berkeley Street is the heart and soul of DraftKings. The middle-of-the-city location says plenty about DraftKings, which in the last two years has become a major player on the fast-growing U.S. sports betting scene.
While the building itself is somewhat nondescript — just one of a number of skyscrapers that line the affluent neighborhood adjacent to the historic Boston Common — DraftKings’ office space is anything but. The company moved into the 105,000-square foot space — the biggest single-floor space in the city — in March. And from the minute you walk off the elevator on the fifth floor, anything and everything, from the wall across from the elevator to the interior doors is branded with the company’s signature crown logo.
The building is less than two miles away from all three of Boston’s professional sports teams. Employees could walk to Fenway Park or Boston Garden in less than half an hour.
Hip, modern vibe
DraftKings, which now operates mobile and/or retail sportsbooks in Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, is clearly going for a modern vibe in its new space. The open workspace allows for plenty of communication between employees and is filled with analysts sitting at seemingly endless rows of desks, many with stunning views of the city, and all with access to the high-end meeting and eating spaces peppered throughout the nearly one city block of space.
Among the coolest features in the building are the “huddle” rooms, designed for impromptu meetings, and representing the four major American professional sports leagues. The themed meeting spaces spare no detail, from the orange basketball-patterned NBA huddle room complete with modern “basketball” chandeliers to Pesky’s Pole in the MLB huddle room. The pole, a local legend at Fenway Park, is signed by some of the dignitaries — mostly politicians, including Governor Charlie Baker — that have come through the space. The MLB huddle room also has light fixtures comprised of about a dozen or so glass baseballs that hang over a central table.
There are, of course, televisions throughout the building as well as a ticker above the reception desk with the latest sports news available just about anywhere you look. When designing the space, DraftKings also embraced its Boston heritage — the company was founded here by Matt Kalish, Jason Robins, and Paul Liberman. The trio launched their initial platform just seven years ago from Liberman’s house. It now has about 800 employees in Boston, London and Malta, as well as partnerships with Major League Baseball, the NBA and NFL, in addition to key sports media companies ESPN and FOX.
Great to sign a replica of Pesky's Pole at @DraftKings' new HQ opening in Boston.
We’re proud to support the many growing companies that make up the Commonwealth's thriving innovation economy. pic.twitter.com/52Uc2KIRqY
— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) March 26, 2019
The cafeteria features a full-wall of Boston landmarks and famous figures, including Paul Revere, the Old North Church, the State House and the Citgo sign that sits out behind the Green Monster at Fenway.
The space pays homage to sports at every turn. Closed meeting rooms throughout the office bear the names of some of the most famous athletes in the game, the most prominent being the “Brady Room” just off the lobby. In addition, there are “walks of fame” scattered throughout the building, in which DraftKings has walls of custom-framed posters with the company’s annual Fantasy Football Awards winners, including its 2018 MVP, Patrick Mahomes.
Of course, as DraftKings continues to expand its footprint across the U.S., recently becoming the exclusive sportsbook for nearby New Hampshire, sports betting is not yet legal in the company’s home state. Thus there remains one important place for Governor Baker to ink his name: on the signature line of a bill to legalize it, which will follow already protracted discussions. To be continued in 2020.