Mark Cuban-Backed Fantasy Sports App Hires First Legal Leader

Underdog Sports Inc., a fantasy sports gaming startup that is ramping up with football season underway, has hired Nicholas Green as its first in-house lawyer.

Green since January was head of public policy at esports and mobile gaming platform Skillz Inc. He’s also a former partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

Underdog is a “perfect fit” and was “a quick, seamless decision to join,” Green said in an email. “Given my background in fantasy sports and sports gaming at Orrick, I had many common acquaintances” with the executive team, he said.

Underdog, which does business as Underdog Fantasy, develops sports games for an app that allows users to draft football lineups. The company, which began in 2020 and acquired sports betting platform Goat Gaming last year, is planning to launch licensed sportsbooks next year in Colorado and Ohio.

Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, and NBA star Kevin Durant’s venture capital firm Thirty Five Ventures were part of a $10 million fundraising round by Underdog last year. The round also included other professional athletes and the rappers Nas, Future, and Gunna, according to Underdog.

Green, who will oversee all legal operations at Underdog, is the first lawyer hired by the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based company for a purely legal role.

During his decade-long career in Big Law, he was part of a public policy team at Orrick that successfully established sports betting markets in several US states. He previously was a staff attorney at the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Underdog has a roster of outside counsel includes Duane Morris, which is handling regulatory matters for the company, Green said. Public filings show that Washington-based Sughrue Mion has handled trademark work for Underdog.

Goodwin Procter advised Underdog on its Series B fundraising of $35 million led by asset management giant BlackRock Inc. and venture capital firm Acies Investments. The company was reportedly valued at $485 million this summer after the round.

Duane Morris and Goodwin Procter will “continue to play critical roles” as Underdog grows, Green said. He anticipates working with a “number of additional” law firms in his new head of legal role as “specific needs arise” at the company, he said.

Underdog in May hired Stacie Stern, a former government affairs director at FanDuel Inc., to be its vice president of government affairs and partnerships.

Aviv Lazar, a former corporate associate at White & Case, serves as chief of staff to the company’s founder, president, and chairman Jeremy Levine.