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Crown Archetype to publish: Powerball by Don Van Natta Jr & Seth Wickersham


Don Van Natta Jr & Seth Wickersham
  • Imprint: Crown Archetype
Contact: Tammy Blake

 Award-Winning Investigative Journalists 

Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham

To Coauthor Definitive Look at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

And the Hidden Power Struggles

That Have Shaped the Modern NFL

POWERBALL to be published by Crown Archetype

(February 8, 2017, New York, NY) Crown Archetype, an imprint of Penguin Random House’s Crown Publishing Group, announced today that it will publish POWERBALL   by ESPN’s award-winning investigative journalists Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham. POWERBALL will be the untold story of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the league owners he answers to, and the internal power wars that have greatly impacted America’s most popular sport. The book will be released simultaneously in the United States and Canada in print and digital formats. A publication date has not been announced.

Crown Archetype Vice President and Editorial Director Tricia Boczkowski acquired world, electronic book, audio, and first-serial rights from David Black, principal of the David Black Agency, representing Wickersham; and from Christy Fletcher, principal of Fletcher & Co., representing Van Natta.  Crown Archetype Editor Nathan Roberson will edit the book.

Professional football is America’s favorite sport. It’s also its most profitable, with the NFL’s revenue estimated at $14 billion for 2016. To outsiders, the NFL can seem like a monolith, a well-oiled moneymaking machine that reliably turns on-field action and passionate fandom into billions of dollars. But the reality is that behind the scenes, the NFL is driven and shaped by momentous power struggles between some of the richest men and women in America. From the commissioner’s office on down, the NFL serves the interests of those who really have the power. Beginning in 2006, when Roger Goodell was elected NFL Commissioner on a secret ballot by the NFL team owners, POWERBALL will trace how the league’s owners evolved from a mainly cohesive group of legacy owners’ families to a raucous, divisive membership that has splintered into cliques, and it will examine how what happens in the inner circles of the league affects the games watched by millions every season.

Both separately and together, Van Natta and Wickersham have written definitive pieces for ESPN The Magazine—about Roger Goodell, Jerry Jones, the Ray Rice domestic violence incident, the connection of Deflategate to Spygate, the relocation of the Rams to Los Angeles, and many of the league’s biggest stars, from Tom Brady to Peyton Manning.

Said Boczkowski, “We’re thrilled to have two of the most highly respected, award-winning journalists tell the riveting behind-the-scenes story of the real NFL. Tracing the power struggles within the league to the impact they have on how the game is played, POWERBALL will reveal the truth behind this billion-dollar industry, pulling back the curtain on how the modern-day NFL really works.”

Said Van Natta, “I’m thrilled to be teaming up with my good friend and colleague Seth Wickersham to write what we hope will become the landmark book about the modern-day National Football League. How America’s most popular sports league really works—and why it sometimes doesn’t—are among the sports world’s most fascinating untold stories. We couldn’t be happier that POWERBALL will be published by the supremely talented folks at Crown Archetype.”

Said Wickersham, “The NFL is the sport that the public cares about most and knows about least. It’s a gift to be afforded the time and space to explore how the league works behind closed doors—and how shadow wars in the league office trickle down to the games on Sunday.”


Don Van Natta Jr. is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN Digital Media who also appears on ESPN’s Peabody Award–winning investigative journalism show Outside the Lines. Before ESPN, he worked for sixteen years as an investigative correspondent for the New York Times, where he was a member of two Pulitzer Prize–winning reporting teams. He is the author of three previous books, two of which went on to become bestsellers.

Seth Wickersham is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN Digital Media whose work also appears on Outside the Lines. In 2015, he won a Folio award for Best Single Story, Sports, and a second-place National Headliner award in Magazine Feature Writing.

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Crown Archetype is an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, is dedicated to its mission of nourishing a universal passion for reading by connecting authors and their writing with readers everywhere. The company, which employs more than 10,000 people globally, was formed on July 1, 2013, by Bertelsmann and Pearson, who own 53 percent and 47 percent, respectively. With nearly 250 independent imprints and brands on five continents, Penguin Random House comprises adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print and digital English- and Spanish-language trade book publishing businesses in more than 20 countries worldwide. With over 15,000 new titles, and close to 800 million print, audio and eBooks sold annually, Penguin Random House’s publishing lists include more than 60 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors.


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