Friday, June 20, 2008

Fantasy Sports Live One Year Anniversary

Sunday June 22nd marks the one year anniversary of FantasySportsLive.com. It has been quite a ride. Though I can’t really discuss all the details here for competitive reasons, let’s just say it was a successful year of tremendous growth for us. We have already run over 20,000 Fantasy Sports Contests with cash prizes at FSL, which is not too shabby for a 1st year start-up. As our first year ends, we are by far the leader in daily fantasy sports contests, and face no serious competition at all in the fantasy sports niche we created. There have been no challenges to the legality of what we are offering, and no intellectual property issues either. Our second year in operation is shaping up to be absolutely huge.

1st Year Highlights Include:

1) Launching all of the five major fantasy sports at the start of each of their seasons (excluding Hockey which launched 6 weeks late).
2) Adding the ranking cap draft method for a total of three unique draft methods on FSL.
3) Defining an additional 4 draft methods that will be added to the site overtime.
4) Improving the draft interface, home page, and overall functionality of the website through several major upgrades.
5) Having zero reported scoring errors for our entire first Fantasy Football and Fantasy Basketball seasons, and just a single error so far for our second Fantasy Baseball season. The Majors don’t even come close to a record like this on scoring accuracy.

The main first year lowlight was getting our concept ripped off by a fellow poker blogger (Chris Fargas) who was told of the idea in confidence prior to our launch, and stole the idea anyway. Fortunately for us, IFS launched with little fanfare and sits empty today having not run a single fantasy contest in several months. Matt Maroon also took our basic idea, got some VC funding through Y-Combinator and launched a very similar site to IFS around Week 13 of the football season. Matt loves to bash our site and claims his idea is unique, but what are the chances that three poker bloggers came up with the same idea at the same time and all launched businesses around it? We launched 3 months before IFS and 5 months before Matt’s site, and both were early FSL Users. Matt’s site has a bit more traffic than IFS, and are consistent in that they tend to lose money on their contests every single day.

The rest of our competition falls into three categories.

1) US based lottery style fantasy contests
2) Offshore based sites offering illegal versions of what we have
3) US based sites offering bastardized versions of fantasy sports that meet the exemption.

Lottery Style fantasy contests allow an unlimited number of entries, and a big grand prize that is an unknown percentage of the prize pool. There are several of these, but they do not really compete with us, though many use a similar draft method. We offer value for those who would like to profit from fantasy sports. Lotteries offer a big-payout, but no value. The number of entries is a secret as well as their fat profit margins. You can’t make money long-term playing fantasy sports lotteries, while you can at FSL. A couple offshore sites with similar offerings are the most successful of our competition. FSE, is an identical copy of our site created by a large offshore sports book with a huge budget. Being an offshore sports book, they do not need to be in compliance with the UIGEA, and chose not to with this offering. You will have the normal transferring of funds issues like any poker site with them, but they do have a decent amount of traffic consisting of their poker and sports book user base. GDD launched 6 months before us and uses a pick from groups method of drafting your team, vs. the salary cap method we use. GDDs traffic has remained steady, but our traffic exceeded theirs almost immediately after we launched. Lastly, there are some interesting legal sites like USFL that have found unique exceptions, but do not really offer a compelling product.

So we find ourselves in a great position starting our second year. We are addressing a market that is around 20 million people strong and around 5 billion dollars annually and growing. We are only scratching the surface of how large we can become and how quick we can grow. We are a bit ahead of the curve in Fantasy Sports which can make things a bit difficult, but also positions us well for the future. I want to thank all of the poker bloggers who helped us obtain a very important critical mass of users after our launch in June, and have worked hard promoting FSL this past year. I also want to thank Dr. Pauly whose initial exposure and private contests during Fantasy Football were a key component of our first year’s success. Year 2 looks to be another exciting year of rewriting the rules of Fantasy Sports for Fantasy Sports Live.

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4 Comments:

At 4:57 PM, Blogger Lifesagrind said...

Job well done!

The business side of your site intrigues me. Not from a competitive point of view, but from an entrepreneurial side.

I'd love to hear the ins and outs of what you went through.

I truly wish you continued success.

 
At 12:46 AM, Blogger themaroon said...

Grats on one year. And I'd say the odds are pretty good. We incorporated a couple months before you launched, and had the idea a few years before. As I'm sure you know, it was untenable before the CBC v MLB case.

And I assure you, any bashing as out of sheer competitiveness and good fun.

 
At 10:18 PM, Blogger Buffalo66 said...

Although you weren't necessarily the first one with this idea, or the first to market - your hard work has paid off tremendously.

The site that provides the best experience for the end user is the one that will reap the rewards.

You are well on your way. Congratulations.

 
At 11:35 AM, Blogger Drizztdj said...

Keep kicking ass, I just wish I was better at Fantasy Sports (see current WPBT standings on CBS Sportsline for my last place team) to re-deposit.

I'll probably be back for football regardless :)

 

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