FanDuel, the daily fantasy sports site worth over $US1 billion, was just hit by a class action lawsuit by Pierre Garcon, a wide receiver for the Washington Redskins, who’s representing all NFL players.
The complaint basically accuses FanDuel of running a business and making money while using player names and likenesses without proper authorization. It’s likely FanDuel has an agreement with the NFL and other sports leagues to use its content, but this lawsuit indicates the daily fantasy sports site hasn’t signed any deals with the NFL players association for using player likenesses.
The complaint writes, “…Mr. Garcon alleges that in the operation and sale of its online fantasy football gaming product, FanDuel knowingly and improperly exploits the popularity and performance of Garcon, along with all the other National Football League (“NFL”) players at offensive skilled positions without their authority or a valid licence.”
“FanDuel routinely uses the names and likenesses of some of these NFL players without authorization to promote FanDuel’s commercial enterprise, collecting huge revenues from entry fees. Neither Mr. Garcon nor the NFL players he seeks to act on behalf of have given their consent to FanDuel’s blatant misappropriation of their publicity rights.”
Garcon also released the following statement separately:
“I am bringing this lawsuit against FanDuel for using my name, image, and likeness in both daily fantasy contests and through advertising on TV ads and infomercials. FanDuel has taken the liberty to engaged in these actions without my consent and without proper licensing rights. As a result of these activities, FanDuel daily fantasy contests have shown increasing revenues leading to large profits. Therefore, on behalf of myself as well as any other players who are being treated unjustly, I chose to file a complaint.
“I have been advised by my attorneys not to speak any further on the topic while the case is pending. Any other questions regarding this matter can be addressed to my agent, Brad Cicala.”
This isn’t the first time FanDuel has faced a class action lawsuit. Earlier this month, a player of the site accused FanDuel and DraftKings of negligence, fraud, and false advertising, alleging the employees of the two companies shared insider information to gain unfair advantage in the game.
Daily fantasy sports sites have enjoyed explosive popularity in recent years, with both FanDuel and DraftKings raising money at valuations north of $US1 billion. But there have been deepening concerns over the sites’ lack of proper regulation and its vague classification as a “game of skill,” which prompted the state of Nevada to shut down all daily fantasy sports sites unless they got proper licenses.
FanDuel wasn’t immediately available for comment.