Arnold Boston Managing Partner Leaving After 20 Years to Join DraftKings

By Patrick Coffee 

Managing partner Don Lane, who has been with Arnold Worldwide in Boston for more than two decades, will leave the agency later this month to take a top marketing position with Boston-based fantasy sports giant DraftKings.

A statement from an Arnold spokesperson:

“After nearly 21 years with the Arnold Worldwide family, Managing Partner, Executive Director Don Lane will be leaving the agency on August 15th to pursue a terrific new client-side opportunity. We thank Don for his many contributions and wish him all the best.”

Lane graduated from the University of Richmond with a degree in journalism and sports management, joined Arnold in an accounts role in 1995, and continued to move up within the organization over the next 20 years. He led the team behind Volkswagen’s “Drivers Wanted” campaign and also helped develop work for client ESPN’s various properties, including its Fantasy Sports division.

After serving as SVP/group account director, Lane was promoted to EVP/executive director in 2008 and later became a managing partner.

Lane confirmed today that he has accepted a job with DraftKings. His title will be SVP of brand & creative, and he will be working closely with CMO Janet Holian, who joined the company in January. A company representative declined to comment on the news.

“It’s a once in a lifetime experience to build a great brand in a category I love,” Lane says. “I had an incredible run working with some amazingly talented people at Arnold … I’m very excited to challenge myself and do something new.”

His hire comes at a very good time: Three days ago, the Massachusetts general court passed a law that would effectively legalize the services of DraftKings and its competitors within the state. This legislation was attached to a larger economic development package passed during the final day of the now-elapsed summer legislative session. It has yet to be signed by Governor Charlie Baker, but it follows a similar law passed by New York State in June to “legalize and protect daily fantasy sports” businesses. That law negated a March arrangement in which DraftKings and Fan Duel agreed to stop taking bets in a compromise with state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. (New York is currently the largest source of business for both companies.)

Last July, DraftKings chose Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners as its creative agency of record after a review. The company spent $35 million on paid media in 2014 according to the most recent numbers provided by Kantar Media, but last summer Adweek reported that review participants had been told that the total could rise to as much as $200 million annually.

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