Personal Profile: Bob Harris

Name: Bob Harris
Job title(s): Senior Editor at Fantasy Sports Publications Inc.
Full-time in fantasy? Yes
Age: 47
Education: Just enough to be dangerous
Family status: Single (who would have me?)
Favorite fantasy sport to play: Football
Favorite sport to watch: MMA
Favorite team (any sport): None
All-time favorite athlete: None
Years playing fantasy: 23
I got my start in the fantasy industry when: I got tired of turning on the television Sunday mornings only to find players listed as probable in the paper on Thursday and Friday weren’t able to play.

Since then, my fantasy résumé includes: I started the TFL Report, in 1993, serving as editor and webmaster. I joined Fantasy Sports Publications, Inc. in 1997. My work has been prominently displayed in all four FSP Fantasy annuals — Fantasy Football Pro Forecast, Fantasy Football Diehards, Fantasy Football Cheatsheets and the Fantasy Football DraftBook — since.

I wrote a weekly column for from 2001-07; also ran weekly content I created in 2007.

In 2005, I was named the first-ever Fantasy Football Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

Three questions

1) If you’ve been making your living in fantasy sports since 1993, what did you do before that? How did you go about generating sustainable income from the TFL Report right from the start?

I was a graphic designer working on retainer for a single customer - leaving plenty of free time while more than covering expenses. I used the free time (and money earned) to create, publish and market the TFL Report. The publication itself came very close to breaking even (thanks to considerable sweat equity and swapping out of design work, etc.).

Looking back, it’s safe to say sustainable income is different now than it was then. Some would argue it wasn’t sustainable then. But I was so convinced this whole “fantasy thing” would take off at some point, I didn’t pay much attention to the initial income.

2) I’ve been told that you’ve helped some others make their way into and up through the fantasy sports industry. Through your work as an editor and experienced writer, as well as your role in creating the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, do you see yourself as a mentor to younger entrants into the industry? If so, what do you try to impart to those just starting out?

I went to great lengths early on to help others in the field because I believed the better we looked as a group the more viable we became as an industry.

Now that we’ve established that viability, I focus on reminding newcomers who the “experts” are. I have always worked under the assumption my readers are the “experts” and that my job is helping them achieve the desired level of expertise. In other words, I’m not the expert. I’d prefer “professional.”

I know it’s more difficult to get recognized and make a name for yourself these days, but I firmly believe my approach is the reason I’m still doing this - and making a reasonable living at it - 17 years in.

So, bring it strong; be flamboyant; get noticed. … But remember: You’re not going to fool this audience. It’s not about you. It’s about them.

3) How have the expansion of the fantasy sports landscape and the proliferation of available content changed your job? Has increased competition made it any harder to draw in and retain readers?

Being established before the “explosion” has helped. I had a chance to earn the trust of readers well in advance of the boom. That audience is loyal.

Is it harder to bring in new readers? Oh yes. Hey, there are a lot of very talented people in this business now. It’s a battle to prove your ability to deliver the goods and retain the credibility necessary to stand out. That fight is something I love getting up and doing every single day.

Bonus: What did/does TFL stand for? Also — related or not — your e-mail handle is “unstable.” Should we be worried?

TFL is “The Fantasy League” — as in The Fantasy League Report. The “unstable” thing was a better fit back in the ’90s. I settled down a bit since.


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