March, 2010

FSB Daily 3/31: Fantasy and Brands, Fanhouse, Malkmus, Javon Walker

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

A roundup of items recently posted on the FSB News page.

- This blogger, with a stated background in marketing, gives an interesting overview of the fantasy sports scene from the perspective of why it should entice brand marketers.

- Fanhouse fantasy writer R.J. White recently (OK, kinda recently) shared some of Fanhouse’s favorite fantasy baseball resources from around the Web. It’s worth noting when a site feels strongly enough about someone else’s value to direct Web visitors elsewhere.

- There are probably people who have never heard of (or don’t recall knowing) the band Pavement but know lead singer Stephen Malkmus to be a devoted fantasy player. This profile by Chuck Klosterman for GQ gives us more details of the breadth of Malkmus’ devotion, as well as the fact that he’d much rather talk about sports than his music.

- Injury-riddled NFL receiver Javon Walker: I just want to mess up everybody’s fantasy league (in 2010), wondering where he’d come from.

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Personal Profile: Megan Van Petten

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Name: Megan Van Petten Walton
Nickname: MVP
Job title(s): Association Director
Full-time in fantasy? Yes, The FSTA is my first professional involvement in fantasy sports.
Age: 39
Education: B.A. in Business Administration / Masters in Industrial Organizational Psychology.
Family status: Married to Scott Walton, the Executive Chef at Markethouse restaurant, inside the Doubletree Downtown Chicago. No children.
Favorite fantasy sport to play: Football
Favorite sport to watch: Football
Favorite team (any sport): I’m loyal to the Bears; however I have spent some time in Indianapolis. I was lucky enough to spend some time with the Colts and got to know Peyton Manning, so I have a special place in my heart for them.

All-time favorite athlete: Peyton Manning

Years playing fantasy: I’ve been around fantasy football my whole life and have all brothers as siblings. My oldest brother has been the commissioner of the same fantasy football league for over 15 years, where no player has ever missed a draft. Two years ago, I played in another league and did not do so well. This year I’ve committed to commish an all-ladies league and I already have recruits. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Three questions

1. Can you give us a little background on the career experience you bring into the FSTA manager post?

I am the owner and business development partner of Van Petten Consulting Inc. I have over 20 years in business and sales management experience. Most recently, I was the national director of media sales/associate publisher for the Coin Laundry/Dry Cleaning Association and The Journal, the association’s publication. The Journal was recently awarded a Top 40 publication in Folio, 2008 during my tenure.

Previous to joining the Coin Laundry Association, I was the product sales representative for Reed Business Information (the largest business-to-business publisher in the U.S), with a concentration in online advertising sales programs for 26 business-to-business magazines, websites and related associations. Some magazine/website examples include Variety Magazine/, Interior Design/, Design News/, Semiconductor International/ and Hotels/ I have recently been nominated for the Folio: 40, which is an award program honoring the top 40 media professionals in the country.

Before beginning a career in publishing, I/Van Petten Consulting managed business development for eCorp (a multi-million dollar search-advertising publisher) managing and growing online accounts for Fortune 500 companies. We launched Internet businesses including,, and (a next generation search advertising platform) just to name a few.
While in graduate school at National Lewis University from 1997 to 1999, I was the assistant to the business administration professor. Upon graduating, I became an adjunct professor and played a role in developing the online educational program. I was a big advocate of the online teaching program blended with a traditional educational structure and was one of the first professors to teach online. Yes, I was a tech geek!

2. What brought you to the fantasy sports industry?

I have extensive experience developing and growing businesses and associations spanning over 11 different industries. My education and experience has taught me that programs and processes can be applied across multiple industries while achieving a high level of success. This is the most exciting industry I’ve ever been a part of, and I look forward to growing with the FSTA.

3. Many fantasy sports companies reside in or are launched from the Midwest. Do you think living in the Midwest yourself (Chicagoland area) enhances your perception of and/or access to the industry?

The Midwest culture is known to be hard-working and loyal to our sports. Growing up as a Midwesterner, I view sports/fantasy sports as another segment of my life by which I gain entertainment, enjoyment and camaraderie with fellow sports fans. It’s an ingrained part of my upbringing and continues to be a major part of my adult life. In terms of access to the industry, I have close relationships with diehard fantasy sports players and I have many friends who have been involved in the industry for 10-plus years, including some professional sports players.

Bonus: Be honest. Is that your real name, or did you alter it so you could refer to yourself as MVP?

Yes, it’s my real name and to add to that, I was born on 7/7/70! What are the odds of that?


Can We Eradicate ‘Fantasy Sports Gambling’?

Monday, March 29th, 2010

One lingering thought from yesterday’s post about the owner who has been charged with supporting illegal gambling …

If you clicked through to the report in the first link from that article, you might have noticed that it was a post from an actual gambling site. You might also have noticed that it referred to as a “fantasy sports gambling site.”

This wouldn’t be a big issue were it an isolated reference. After all, the trouble surrounding the now-dead racing site is that a state investigation uncovered illegal gaming practices.

However, in our tracking of fantasy material throughout the Web, comes across way too many articles that refer to “fantasy sports gambling” as a regular practice. Often, such material appears on gambling and/or casino portals.

Now, it’s understandable why such outlets might want to paint that kind of picture. The federal UIGEA has severely restricted what they are able to do online, while specifically carving out true fantasy sports online practices as legal. If your interests center on hosting online poker, virtual slot machines, etc., you’d likely try to align your efforts with those of fantasy sports sites. After all, if you could convince lawmakers that your games are just like those legal fantasy contests only without the athletes, then maybe they’d relax the regulations and give you more online flexibility.

Well, it’s crap. The federal government has clearly drawn the lines between illegal gambling and legal fantasy sports. Is there some luck involved in our games? Sure. Is there near the amount that you’d find in blackjack or even Texas Hold ‘Em? Nope.

The only thing accomplished by trying to cast fantasy sports as gambling is sullying the “fantasy” label for folks who might not be that familiar with the games or the UIGEA. What can we do about it? Unfortunately, we probably can’t do a whole lot other than to be aware of the practice and try to make sure the average consumer knows the difference.

That’s the job of fantasy-game operators and a site like


FSB Daily 3/29: Lots of Apps, Lots of Baseball

Monday, March 29th, 2010

A roundup of items recently posted on the FSB News page.

- AOL-owned fantasy commissioner site FleaFlicker now has a free iPhone app for team management and tracking. For a full introduction, allow me to present Fanhouse’s Tom Herrera.

- With baseball season drawing ever closer, The New York Times highlighted a few iPhone apps for baseball nuts and fantasy players: FanGraphs, RotoWire’s draft kit, iScore, K-ForCE, Yahoo!’s upcoming app and MLB’s At Bat 2010.

- The League of Alternate Baseball Realities is one of the best-known and longest-running “expert” fantasy leagues. The AL-only draft took place earlier this week, and here’s what each owner thought about his team afterward.

- This Wall Street Journal story tells about how the Michael Eisner-managed Topps company is revitalizing its sports-card sales with Attax, a game that incorporates some elements of fantasy.

- Nando Di Fino of The Wall Street Journal reports that Chris Carpenter boasted the highest winning percentage among owned baseball players in’s 2009 fantasy leagues: 58.6 percent of teams that included Carpenter won their leagues.

- When announced the end of its fantasy-games hosting, it also told users about a deal with to host leagues at half-price ($90 instead of $180). CBS has also partnered with to offer the same deal via that site.

- Gentlemen (and ladies) for some reason, thinks you might be interested in this overpriced, fantasy-themed toilet paper.

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