As FanDuel started to ramp up its expansion plans in the US, Director of Design and Construction Jamie Bannigan knew the result would be something special. He was already familiar with the organization’s Dublin-based parent company, Flutter Entertainment, being an Irish native himself, and Flutter owned the biggest sportsbook retailer in the UK.
“Knowing what Flutter had done in the past, I knew they weren’t just going to drop into the US market,” Bannigan says. “I knew it was going to be exciting. They’re a vibrant, ambitious company that’s hungry and committed to what they do.”
A leader who spent his career working in various construction roles on both the contractor and client sides, Bannigan shared similar characteristics. His ambition had brought him to New York, where he cut his teeth for eight years as a site project manager, a senior estimator, and a freelance construction consultant. In 2021, he brought his expertise and passion to FanDuel, which wanted to expand its design and construction team so it could keep growing.
For Bannigan, it was also a chance to build a legacy with his colleagues.
“Our portfolio was quite small at the time, and we didn’t really have too many design and construction professionals involved,” he says. “I got an opportunity to set up the whole design and construction department from how we do our RFPs [requests for proposal], how we select our vendors, to the processes we follow. I’m pretty proud that if I walk away tomorrow, someone can walk into my job. It wasn’t like that when we started.”
Over the past three years, Bannigan’s department has built out over 30 retail locations, each one varying in size and based on different state regulations. One of his favorites was working on the FanDuel Sportsbook lounge inside of the Footprint Center in Arizona, home to the Phoenix Suns and the Phoenix Mercury basketball teams. The 7,400-square-foot lounge includes an outdoor terrace, 5 betting windows, a VIP window, HD televisions, a 35-foot video wall, self-service betting kiosks, and more.
Bannigan is just as proud of his team’s work on a sportsbook lounge at the United Center in Chicago, the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, and more locations in Louisiana.
While working closely with FanDuel’s partners is key to creating those kinds of customer-centered spaces, so is working cross functionally across the business, Bannigan says. As a leader, he believes communication and forming relationships are values that can’t be overlooked.
“We work constantly with compliance, operations, IT, network, commercial, and others to ensure we cater towards the customer better than anyone else does it,” he says. “The cross functionality of FanDuel and the insights you get into everyone’s department creates this one-team mentality. We always ensure that everyone is cohesive.”
On Growth Momentum
“This year we launched our preservation project to make sure we’re in cycles of redeveloping our existing portfolio. It’s always great to have the new state launches, and of course, there’s many states to come that haven’t legalized sports betting. But it’s also important to cater to our existing customer, making sure we still give them the best experience. To manage both needs, we’re always staying up to date on the most cutting-edge technology, the best viewing experience, and how we design places to operate most optimally.”
Bannigan aims to foster that kind of cohesion within his ranks through his leadership style. He describes himself as a charismatic visionary that’s “always thinking about what’s 24 months ahead while viewing what’s in front of me.”
“I never ask anyone to do anything that I wouldn’t do,” he adds. “I also try to maintain a strategic and open mind.”
Additionally, he focuses on “challenging his teammates and committing to it.”
“We have great mentorship, coaching, and academic programs to nurture their talents,” he says. “It’s just challenging them strategically throughout the year, mapping out the goals that we’re looking for, making that commitment, and performing quarterly reviews on absolutely everything. The thing is the team that works with me is a brilliant, so they don’t need to really be incentivized to grow. Seeing the growth of the industry and the company is enough to motivate them to get the resources they need.”
For years, WJCA has collaborated proudly with Jamie Bannigan and the FanDuel team, crafting remarkable environments for clients and players. Jamie’s leadership not only enhances projects but also cultivates an innovative, excellent culture. With keen attention to detail and strategic thinking, he adeptly handles complex challenges, surpassing expectations. FanDuel’s team inspires creativity, paired with meticulous planning and execution, ensuring a rewarding journey and outstanding, impactful results.