Business Profile: Sports Grumblings

Company: Sports Grumblings, LLC
Launch date: 2007 (1995 as Gridiron Grumblings)
No. of employees: 14

Most of the fantasy sites you’ll come across popped up from 2000 on. Gridiron Grumblings — the initial incarnation of what is now Sports Grumblings — hit the Web in 1995, though, before most folks knew there was a Web to hit. Founder John Georgopoulos took some time out in between debates on sports and politics to tell about how the company got to where it is.

1. What made you think of and want to launch a fantasy sports company back in 1995? What went into that launch (startup costs, technology development, etc.)?
I launched Gridiron Grumblings as a way to teach myself HTML in 1995. Since we were a content site (not a gaming site), startup costs were limited to the cost of a domain name ($100 per year back then!) and a simple hosting plan. All of the writers were volunteers, and I handled all the design and coding of the site.

2. Can you describe the kind of content and services that Gridiron Grumblings offered in the early days? How did you go about getting your name out and building a customer base in those still-early days of Internet?
The early content was strictly NFL-related — no fantasy. Marketing was easier then. You have to remember, Yahoo! was still edited by hand (Gridiron Grumblings was one of the first 10 sites listed in its NFL directory). Some PR found us, such as several print magazines. Other times, it was a matter of my contributing content to other sites and even print magazines and newspapers.

Customers were not an issue, as the site was never intended to be a business. My writers and I were happy to be considered an “expert.” So any ad revenue that was generated was gravy.

3. At what point(s) — and how — did you start to add other sports? When did you evolve into Sports Grumblings?
Sports Grumblings LLC was formed in February 2007. It was at the prodding of my partner at the time, Tony Finn, who suggested that we switch to all four major sports coverage as a way to maintain and smooth our traffic over the entire year.

So, we went about the business of acquiring small bloggers for their content as well as placing ads on craigslist for MLB, NBA and NHL writers. Some writers were extremely positive additions; others not so much. One or two acquisitions turned out to be quite negative, but that’s life. You take the good with the bad; you adapt and adjust; you move forward.

4. How significant a portion of the company is the Radio Grumblings arm — in terms of both resources devoted and return in revenue and/or marketing? is a personal project of mine. Way back in 1996, I was one of the first podcasters — even when there wasn’t a word for it. I would use a RealAudio encoder to create audio commentary, which I named “WGRD Radio” and posted on It received amazing reviews, and I have met several folks in the industry who have pulled me aside and thanked me for those podcasts. They told me it was their inspiration for doing their own shows or starting their own fantasy ventures.

My final podcast was posted on Sept. 12, 2001 — the day after the terrorist attacks. The attacks occurred across the street from my office, so that podcast was an emotional, personal message from me to the listeners. After that, I had no desire to podcast again.

As time went by, I felt the need to broadcast again. Since I was doing a lot of call-ins to terrestrial radio stations around the country and I knew that the technology had evolved to the point where I could cheaply and efficiently set up my own internet radio station, I got the itch to blab again. That itch became in 2007.

In terms of expense, it’s minimal. In terms of revenue, it’s minimal. Radio Grumblings is merely a goodwill extension of the, promoting awareness and customer engagement of the SG brand.

5. Your radio content certainly isn’t limited to football (or even sports). Can you describe the different shows that you put forth? What did this area of the company look like before the advent of The Fantasy Sports Channel on BlogTalkRadio?
It’s true. I love to talk and argue. Perhaps it’s my Greek ancestry (we all love to philosophize, don’t ya know), but I never skip an opportunity to get into a debate. Doesn’t have to be about sports. I get as much, if not more, of a kick debating politics.

To that end, I put together a weekly political show with a few of my college buddies. It’s called The Council of Three and it airs every Wednesday evening at 9 p.m. Eastern on BlogTalkRadio. Liberal, Conservative or Moderate — something for everyone, and we love to engage with our listeners.

In late 2008, I was approached to join’s lineup of fantasy shows. It’s been a great association for us, and I hope to continue to work to build out that venture.

We do a year-round fantasy sports show called Fantasy Grumblings Live!, a two-hour show. As we head into football season, Fantasy Grumblings Live! will slide into a one-hour slot to focus mainly on fantasy baseball. The two-hour slot will then be dedicated to our long-running football show, Gridiron Grumblings Live!.

Of course, all our archived shows, along with a show blog, can be found at

6. Aside from the traditional four major sports, your site provides pro wrestling content. What’s up with that?
Back when I was in school (in the pre-Internet days of 1986), I created a pro wrestling role-playing game called Sgt. Slaughter’s Matwars, which was the basis of my first company, Silverline Games Inc. Matwars was perhaps my greatest creation, but when I left Silverline in 1988, the game remained with the company.

Fast-forward 23 years, and I guess I got this hankering to provide the industry with a true fantasy pro wrestling product. And unlike Gridiron Grumblings and Radio Grumblings, this will be treated as a business from Day 1. And what’s Step 1 of any internet-based venture these days? Eyeballs. Buzz. Word-of-mouth. The pro wrestling content is part of that pre-launch effort.

In case subtlety is lost on folks, we’ll be launching this summer. It will be something completely different, yet familiar; it will be better than Matwars was in 1986 — and to me, that was the best immersive sports simulation I have ever seen. And no, it will not be at all similar to the lame (in my opinion) WWE fantasy product nor will it be an arcade type of game. It will be the next big thing!

7. One of the headings on your homepage is “Odds.” What role has handicapping played in the life of Sports Grumblings, and how has it changed as the sports betting landscape has changed?
It was an effort to capitalize on the only free-spending ad vertical. Sports handicapping is huge business, and they had money to spend on sports-themed sites. Compared to the abysmal CPM rates (Cost Per Mil, or 1,000 ads) most ad networks offered (and continue to offer), sports handicapping was a no-brainer. And if we’re lucky, the new Administration will ease the ridiculous restrictions on online sports betting — which means more dollars flowing to small- and mid-sized fantasy sites.

8. What is Mighty Max and the Fantasy Forecast® ranking system?
Mighty Max is the Sports Grumblings supercomputer, which tirelessly and endlessly churns out player rankings, projections and predictions for every major fantasy sport. Time after time, Mighty Max has proven to be more accurate overall than human prognosticators.

Honestly, Mighty Max is the name I’ve given to the various proprietary algorithms and procedures I’ve written over the past 15 years which drive all of our pre-season, weekly and daily player predictions and projections. I trademarked Fantasy Forecast® to describe the entire process and the content it produces. So when you see a fantasy sports column titled Fantasy Forecast, you should be reading one of my columns. If not, please let me know, because my lawyer needs the money.

9. How heavily does company revenue rely on premium subscriber fees? Farming out content such as player updates and columns?
I am not at liberty to say, but I think it’d be accurate to say it’s important.

Other than our proprietary content (mainly our Mighty Max rankings) all of our content is free and syndicated through a variety of tools and channels (RSS, XML, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

10. What lies ahead for Sports Grumblings?
A lot will depend on how the performs, but I see Sports Grumblings LLC continuing to evolve as an overall fantasy sports entertainment entity.


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15 Responses to “Business Profile: Sports Grumblings”

  1. Kevin Says:

    “Sgt. Slaughter’s Matwars” is a board game produced by Trigame Enterprises of Matawan NJ in the 80’s. I know because I own one. I also worked for Trigame at the International Toy Fair at the Javits Center while we were promoting this game.

  2. Kevin Says:

    Sorry. I see this was a Silverline game. (Trigame acquired Silverline). That’s the connection..

  3. Fantasy Sports Business » Blog Archive » FSB Daily 9/3: Yahoo!, Sports Grumblings, Tight Ends, Papa John’s Says:

    [...] Starting Saturday at 7 p.m. Eastern, Sports Grumblings will be joining the Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio lineup. The show will air for three hours and, [...]

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