May 17th, 2009

Personal Profile: William Del Pilar

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Name: William Del Pilar
Nickname: Del
Job title(s): consultant
Full-time in fantasy? Yes
Age: 43
Education: California State University-San Marcos (CSUSM); College graduate, Service Sector Management (how to manage individuals). I focused on marketing and advertising.
Family status: Married
Favorite fantasy sport to play: Football
Favorite sport to watch: Football
Favorite team (any sport): None as I root for teams based on players. Working within the sports industry, you get to hear and learn a lot about the players firsthand. Because of that, you root for the good ones, the ones working hard and the ones who are not just out for the money. I root for players, but as a whole I used to be a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan, growing up.

All-time favorite athlete: No one in particular, but I am a huge fan of Terry Bradshaw and Steve Young — two quarterbacks who had to work for everything they earned as professional athletes. They overcame a lot of adversity to become Hall of Fame players.

Years playing fantasy: Since 1990 or 1991. I tend to forget which year it was, but I want to say 1990.

I got my start in the fantasy industry when: I began to work with Fantasy Football Mastermind and KFFL (two sites rolled into one) unofficially. I was helping them with basic marketing ideas and what they could do to improve their business. The following year, I decided I could do this and felt I could do it better than those I saw on the Internet. There were not many companies online then, and most of the existing ones were not of quality. I brought four individuals together to form a new fantasy sports company. In the end we took the name KFFL as it was already online and I could market the two years of its existence to grow the business, which is what we did. Eventually there were only two owners because of how hard it is to build a business. However, we began a 10-year run that showed the industry KFFL was one of the best if not the best-rated fantasy football site online. We back that up with the fact we were the most dominant “expert” organization in the industry by continually proving our mettle against industry experts as well as in high-stakes tournaments. I won, with help from my team at KFFL, over a dozen championships, and had high finishes in high-stakes leagues. KFFL also provided content to some of the biggest providers out there. That included Yahoo! Sports, SportsLine, and a multitude of others. We did this because others believed in the quality of our work, and we were able to stand behind it with a track record of dominance within our industry!

Three questions

1) Now that you’ve “stepped back” from your daily duties with KFFL, what does your job entail? Is there anything about your former role that you really miss? Anything that you really don’t?

Projections! I miss doing projections, and in fact, my own fantasy teams have suffered because of it. For some reason I’m outstanding at understanding players and their potential more so than most individuals. That includes when to take players in a draft — value being the key there!

It’s similar to understanding the big picture, because football is the consummate team sport. Understanding the game not just from the player’s perspective but the team around him is one key that separates me from many hacks out there. Also, understanding what I read and what beat reporters would tell me was important, but even more importantly, analyzing the information properly is the key to success.

On top of our Hot off the Wire feed, what made KFFL hugely popular: our ability to create projections accurately, with statistically sound weekly rankings. I was and still am one of the best, so if I miss anything, it’s that. However, I do miss a few other responsibilities that made KFFL stand out as well.

Radio is another medium I miss. The challenge of taking any question and being able to provide an answer that wasn’t fluff was nerve-racking fun! The respect I earned by being able to handle myself on the radio led to some of the compliments I’ll always cherish because it showed I knew my stuff. If you didn’t, everyone would quickly realize it! Individuals such as Chris Myers of, along with business executives who heard me, made me feel great. Once again, this lent credence to my standing as one of the best in the industry. Which I still am! Yes, cockiness is a needed personality trait to succeed in this industry or any other business.

Finally, day-to-day management that included everything from handling the layouts of our content to marketing and advertising as well as other responsibilities was always a great challenge, with the reward being success in page views, correct picks, B2B deals, etc. With the support from my team, I built a never-quit attitude into KFFL’s culture. That’s what I was most proud of despite setbacks with the “I’m arguing just to argue” employees. That was fun, too, because it was a teaching process for both myself and the employee. Sure I had to put my foot down at times, but in the end, we were always a team! As its leader, I felt I had to listen to anyone in the organization before making a final decision. By listen, that is: hear every relevant idea or thought on the issue to come up with the best decision for the organization.

Not the best decision for me or specific individuals but the organization! I miss that because I was good at it, especially come crunch time. There was not one major emergency that happened to us that I was not able to handle and overcome with the KFFL team. I think I miss the day-to-day office interaction more so than anything else — talking sports with my peers daily.

2) How have the nearly seven years you spent in the Navy impacted you professionally and/or personally?

I entered the military as a boy and came out a man. That’s what I tell people. That is, I learned responsibility, how to serve my country, how to help others who are not as fortunate as we are. In essence I learned to help others and not ask for anything in return as well as to work hard and realize: If we can control the situation, we have no excuse to fail. That’s how I view life. If I can control it, I’ll win or succeed, choose your own words!

Even though I still uphold my never-give-up and fight-to-the-last-breath attitude, my liberalistic view of our country and its people did change. I realize we live in the greatest country in the world and knew I could not let this opportunity slip away: to build and create my own future! There is no excuse for us not to achieve success if we want it — by working hard — but for some reason we have lost our will to work hard and have become lazy. It sounds heavy, but many successful former military men will quickly agree, whereas most civilians will not understand, because there is no civilian counterpart to the military, regardless of what some say. It’s an upbringing, and if you have not had the experience, it’s tough to understand.

I believe with my attitude as well as my belief in others, I was able to build a successful company.

3) What drew you to creating a fantasy sports company back in the industry’s nascent days?

The beliefs I could do it better than anyone else and the Internet was the best medium for fantasy sports. That is, they went hand in hand. Like many, I saw an opportunity to fill a service that at the time did not offer many choices. I also felt I was a better fantasy player than anyone out there and pride myself on understanding not only statistics but how to interpret them.

I also needed to figure out what I wanted with my life. I knew I wanted to be my own boss, and I saw an opportunity to use the newest technology available (the Internet) and combine it with my passion to always want to do the job above and beyond the way others could do it.

Fantasy sports made me a huge sports fan again after I had lost much interest. I love doing this, and because I am one of the best at it … well, that’s the icing on the cake!

Bonus: You’re a self-described “sarcastic, politically incorrect minority,” and I’m willing to go ahead and deem you funnier than Carlos Mencia in this regard. Care to take this opportunity to offend anyone?

I can’t answer that question because we sold the business. I have a company to represent professionally, and even if we still owned KFFL, I wouldn’t. Sure we’ve all slipped up here and there, but there’s a place for everything and there’s a way to act when you’re representing an organization and, as I said, professionally.

My friends and family know who I am and love me for both my good and bad points, and Lord knows I have many bad ones! I love the question because it gives me the opportunity to mention another critical and important point that is lost sometimes by many in today’s day and age: Remember who you represent and how they want you to represent them. To the question — I will and have always wanted to say this: “No comment.” I can now cross that off my bucket list!


FSTA Announces Conference Agenda

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Along with locking up a lead sponsor in recent days, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association also made public the lineup for its summer conference in Chicago.

After holding the football drafts on the first night (just to ensure at least half the teams in each league lose their top picks to pre-season injuries), the conference’s first full day presents the following topics:

  • An intro to the business side of starting up a fantasy site.
  • An update by lawyer Glenn Colton on legal issues facing the industry (most notably, the CBS v. NFLPA case).
  • New consumer behavior research from Dr. Kim Beason and Ipsos’ Aaron Amic.
  • The economy, with the help of Dr. John-Charles Bradbury, author of the blog “Sabernomics: Economic Thinking about Baseball” and the book “The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed.”
  • Tech trends, with a particular focus on “open-source platforms.”
  • Keeping your site relevant in the off-season.

Day 2’s half-day of events includes:

  • Two sessions on building corporate partnerships.
  • Advice on how best to engage users.
  • An interesting closing session in which participants will get 5 minutes to pitch their concept to a panel of judges for a chance at $20,000 in “interactive advertising media” from Dish Network.

Full information on the conference, including registration deadlines and cost, can be found at the FSTA’s website.


MyFantasyLeague Looks for ‘Credibility’ with Sponsorship

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

The Fantasy Sports Trade Association announced Thursday that has signed on as lead sponsor for the summer conference.

The past couple of conferences have carried sponsors such as, SportsDataHub and Fantasy Sports Ventures — all relatively new to the industry at the time. The potential benefits to sponshorship are pretty readily apparent for a new site: Basically, you get the opportunity to announce yourself to a group of decision makers from fantasy companies of various sizes.

When a company has been around since 1994, however, and took home two industry awards from the FSTA’s most recent get-together, the motivation to sponsor might not be quite so apparent. owner Mike Hall sees no shortage of value in the sponsorship, though, as he told this weekend.

“When it comes to marketing, we realize that it’s difficult for us to compete with the big media companies (CBS, ESPN, Yahoo, etc.) that provide league management. Sponsoring an industry conference like this hopefully gives us more credibility with others in the industry.

“We also plan to highlight some of our unique features and offerings in the league management space, such as our open developer’s API that allows third parties to interact with our leagues. As a case in point, that’s how we hooked up with Tony Holm from, who is now on our team. He wrote the Lineup Coach feature using our API to combine data from with custom data from each individual league on, and our customers liked the results so much that we integrated the concept directly into our product. We’d love to make more of those types of connections and partnerships in the future, both to improve our product and to allow third parties to develop tools and applications around our leagues.

“Last but not least, we also want to support the FSTA and their efforts to support and grow the fantasy sports industry. We’ve enjoyed attending the conferences throughout the years, and we realize that sponsorships are needed to help make sure the conferences continue to be successful in the future.”

The FSTA conference will take place June 17-19 in Chicago.

(We also have the highlights from the recently announced conference agenda.)