April 18th, 2010

Personal Profile: The Grogans

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Name: Dan and Kelly Grogan
Nickname: Dan and Kelly
Job title(s): TBD
Full-time in fantasy? Until recently leaving Athlon Sports (March 2010), had been full-time in fantasy football since 1995
Age: Dan 57; Kelly 53
Education: Dan — MBA, Univ. of Colorado; Kelly — B.S. Marketing, Colorado State University
Family status: Both married; each with 2 girls
Favorite fantasy sport to play: Unquestionably, football
Favorite sport to watch: NFL football
Favorite team (any sport): Dan — Broncos/Rockies/Nuggets; Kelly — Broncos/Rockies
All-time favorite athlete: Dan — Pete Maravich; Kelly — Willie Mays. Strange but true, neither one of us has a football hero — Steve Grogan comes close, though!
Years playing fantasy: Since 1985, so that would make it 25 years

We got our start in the fantasy industry when: We have a relatively unknown wide receiver named Paul Johns to thanks for our start in fantasy. We drafted Johns — a seemingly promising Seattle wide receiver — in our first fantasy league in 1985. For having played in just seven games in 1984, Johns had fairly impressive stats. I think he had four TDs. Well, we though we had drafted an “up and comer” only to learn when we announced the pick (I think we took him in the 4th round) that the reason Mr. Johns had played in just seven games the previous season was because he suffered a broken neck and had subsequently retired from the NFL. After the ridiculing from our fellow competitors died down, we vowed never to make the same mistake again.

We began compiling numbers and tracking players in preparation for the ‘86 draft, when a friend offered to buy our work. To make a long story short, that prompted us to start Grogan’s Fantasy Football, which we ran until 2006 before selling the company to Athlon.

Since then, my fantasy résumé includes: We operated Grogans from 1986 to 2005 then sold the company to Athlon Sports in 2006. We were both senior editors with Athlon from 2006 until 2010.

Three questions

1. Honestly, which brother knows more about football? Other sports?

As far as football goes, it’s pretty close as to who has the edge. Kelly holds a sizeable over me when it comes to golf, but I’ve got him by a mile when it comes to cycling!

2. What have been the pros and cons of being in business together?

Since we know each other so well, we instinctively know who should handle what. It’s rare that we have to delineate responsibilities for projects. I really can’t think of a negative in this relationship. Sure, we have our disagreements, but things always work out.

3. How much have you seen the print-media landscape change, and when did you begin to see a significant shift? What do you guys see for the future of fantasy magazines?

Dan: Having started in the print-publishing business in 1986, we’ve seen plenty of change most noticeably in the early to mid-’90s as people had greater access to and became more comfortable with the Internet. I used to think that the “convenience factor” and their portability would extend the life of printed magazines, but not so much now with devices like the iPad and Kindle. Costs (paper, distribution, etc.) have become horrendous for the print publishing business, and certainly advertisers have a lot more options these days. It’s tough to see the printed magazine business as a growth area. Fantasy sports has become a real time business and this doesn’t favor print either.

Kelly: I agree, it was in the mid-’90s when things started to shift more toward the Web. We began our website in 1991, but there were not a lot of people on the Web at that time. But, Dan and I knew it was important to have a website to be included as part of the magazine. Even though someone may have purchased the magazine months after it was written, our customers knew they could go to our site for free updated cheatsheets and revised articles. I think there will always be a demand for fantasy magazines as previews for the upcoming season, but the number may be dictated by the distributors and the bigger chains. The retail space for magazines is very competitive and will be even more so in the future.

Bonus: What’s the funniest publishable thing you can tell us about your brother that he probably wouldn’t want us to know?

Kelly: Well this may not be too funny now, but it was to us at the time. Early on when we were looking for outlets to distribute our magazine we would call on wholesalers, chains and the mom-and-pop bookstores to carry it (we didn’t realize how the distribution business worked). So I called the one store in San Francisco and left a message for the owner to call me back. When he did, I explained a little about fantasy football, but he was intrigued with the words “fantasy” and “football,” and he indicated that he was very anxious to see it and wanted to take 20 copies. I said great, but when he gave me the name of his store, I realized it was an adult bookstore. I never did send him the magazines. Probably wouldn’t have sold any anyway.