Personal Profile: Dr. Kim Beason

Who: Dr. Kim Beason

What: Associate professor, park and recreation management, Ole Miss

Founder, Fantasy Sport Research Specialists LLC

Back in 2001, Dr. Beason went searching for studies on fantasy sports consumers, curious to find out why people played and what impact these games had on professional sports. He found the area lacking. Seeing a need for better understanding of this growing phenomenon, he decided to collect the data on his own but was stonewalled in his attempts to connect with companies that could provide customer lists.

That led the Ole Miss professor to trudge out to Las Vegas (not a bad destination if you have to trudge) and pitched his idea to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (then known as the Fantasy Sports Players Association). He offered to match the group’s funding through the first three years of a research project in return for the FSTA encouraging its members to supply consumer targets for the research. A partnership was born.

From the first study in 2002 and 2003, Beason’s pursuit of learning more about those who play fantasy sports quickly grew into popular and valuable research on the fantasy market and the consumer-spending habits of participants. Businesses used the data to court advertisers and more effectively target consumers. Media outlets latched onto the numbers to reflect the growth in this particular entertainment industry. Perhaps most importantly, the study’s valuable findings have driven up inquiries from FSTA constituents, which has in turn enhanced the breadth and depth of the information collected.

“Dr. Beason is the godfather of fantasy sports market research,” says Jeff Thomas, president of the FSTA and CEO of, which owns this site. “He took a chance on our small association many years ago, funded many of his own expenses to help kick off our research efforts and is now recognized as the top fantasy sports consumer behavior expert in the world.”

The project grew to the point that in 2006, Beason founded Fantasy Sport Research Specialists LLC “to serve as a clearinghouse for research,” an enterprise he shares with three partners. Although the annual FSTA study - whose sixth set of annual results were presented at the FSTA conference in Chicago on July 8 and 9 - is the company’s primary focus, there are other considerations as well.

“We also explore fantasy sport as a medium to teach children, relationships and differences between the fantasy sports and gaming industries, and fantasy sport in the workplace,” Beason says. “FSRS also conduct specialty-market, branding and product-development research for individual fantasy sport companies.”

Not surprisingly, all of this work stemmed from a career as a fantasy-sports player that began in 1989 with a keeper football league at Ole Miss. Beason quickly learned in his second season not to mix business too closely with pleasure, however, when hosting the league’s draft in a campus classroom nearly got him fired.

“My butt was in a sling for about 2 weeks,” he says. “I had to convince them (they were still skeptical) that what we did wasn’t gambling but a game of skill, and the league fees - 30 bucks - was given to the winner.  I ended up hanging on to my job by promising to never, ever, conduct another fantasy sport event on campus.”

Then again, one might argue that the lesson didn’t really take root.

“Heck, I play and research fantasy sport as a (small) part of my job!” Beason says. “Talk about fortunate.”


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3 Responses to “Personal Profile: Dr. Kim Beason”

  1. John Worrall Says:

    I’d just like to add here that Dr. Beason has probably done as much or more to spur the growth of the fantasy sports industry over the 6-7 years as anyone. How many entrepreneurs have cited Dr. Beason’s research to paint a picture of the fantasy landscape for investors? How many have relied upon the results of his work to build marketing plans? How many have partnered with companies who owe their existence to these numbers?

    I think a big debt of gratitude is owed to this man. Thanks Kim!

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