The latest Sports Illustrated cover, featuring American Pharoah’s historic Triple Crown victory on Saturday, came out yesterday and it’s pretty badass.

It’s an indelible image that encapsulates history, set to a pristine background and a foreground equally as iconic. Erick Rasco, the man who captured it, probably deserves a raise.

We can talk about this Sports Illustrated cover going down as one of the century’s most memorable because it will. But while American Pharoah pranced towards history, Rasco inadvertently sent a (formerly) small start-up company and a (formerly) small start-up industry into the next stratosphere.


Epic photo and forestry aside, this cover represents a true marketing home run. Like two grand slams in one inning, Fernando Tatis style.

DraftKings, one of two leaders in the growing daily fantasy sports industry along with FanDuel, found a way to turn their simple deal with the Belmont Stakes into so much more. As in getting their logo on one of the most historic Sports Illustrated covers ever….twice. (If you don’t see it, look Northeast from Pharoah for the first and directly in front of the horse for the second).

It’s unknown how much DraftKings paid for their presenting sponsorship that included logo placement on American Pharoah’s post-race victory blanket, but it was probably a shit ton of money.

DraftKings says it will award more than $1 billion in prizes this year and pull in more than $100 million in revenue. That’s up from $304 million in prizes last year and $30 million in company revenue.

Safe to say that DraftKings had the money to buy what they needed to.

Daily fantasy sports itself is already one of the fastest growing industries on the Internet, with FanDuel and DraftKings clearly leading the pack. And now, by being at the right place at the right time, the latter company just gave that growth a priceless boost.

More than anything, it shows how far daily fantasy sports have come in a short amount of time.

The industry certainly didn’t need to catch a break, but it just caught the biggest one imaginable.