May, 2010

Big Game to Sponsor FSTA Conference

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

The Fantasy Sports Trade Association announced Thursday afternoon that Big Game Software will serve as the title sponsor for the upcoming summer business conference.

Regular FSTA attendees will probably recognize the faces associated with Big Game but might not be familiar with the name. Big Game formerly operated under the title Fantasy Coverage and has shown up as a sponsor at the conference several times before. Fantasy Coverage now serves as a division of Big Game.

Other sponsors include (last summer’s title sponsor and current backer of the Wednesday night outing to a White Sox game) and SportsDirect. Other spots remain available, according to the FSTA.


FSB Daily 5/27: iPhone Apps, Strasburg, Postseason Judging, Draft Sharks

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

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

- The designer of the new FantasyMonster iPhone app says his product enhances the experience for Yahoo! fantasy players managing their teams on the move. Of course, this concept was tried once before, predating Yahoo!’s own iPhone app. The fact that it no longer appears to be live has to make you wonder about the viability of this newest entry, which costs $3.99 to download.

- Wall Street Journal’s Nando Di Fino addresses the Stephen Strasburg hype and hope train in fantasy baseball, adding perspective to the Nationals prospect’s situation by looking back at some previous players whose reputations arrived before they did.

- Fantasy Postseason and Fantasy Judgment have reached an agreement whereby the latter will provide dispute-resolution services for the former’s games through the 2010 MLB playoffs.

- More fantasy outlets are rolling out iPhone apps all the time. This one, Fantasy Football Manager, can help you manage your Premier League fantasy soccer teams.

- Recent FSB profile subject Draft Sharks has launched its redesigned website with content geared toward the 2010 fantasy season.

Send all of your news, job postings, stories and profile ideas to [email protected]. Follow us on Twitter (FSBcom).


FFOC Closed

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

What many have expected throughout the fantasy industry since January has become official.

Visitors to the Fantasy Football Open Championship’s website are now met with this message:

Dear FFOC Players:

We want to thank all of you who have played in our leagues over the past two seasons. It is with great regret that we have decided to shut the game down for the upcoming 2010 season. This was a difficult decision to make, but in the end our only choice given the present, difficult economic environment and the unavoidable delay in coordinating the 2010 draft. While disappointed, we feel that this is the best decision for everyone. Thanks for all your kind words and support, and we hope that we offered some excitement over the past 2 years.

For the 136 teams that won their leagues, the $180.00 cash prize will be sent to you within thirty (30) days, as we are in the process of coordinating these payments. To assist in this process, please send written notification of your current address to: Poised to Stomp Sports, Inc. c/o Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, LLP, 1441 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1420, Miami, Florida 33131. Good luck to all of you as you pursue your fantasy sports dreams.

The Retraction

Additionally, there is ostensibly some confusion over previous, mistaken posts. Contrary to any statements or representations that may have been previously made, Fanball has no involvement, ownership or liability in the financial risks or awards of FFOC’s contests. We apologize to Fanball and Ryan Houston for any resulting confusion and inconvenience. We have enjoyed a great working relationship with Fanball, and wish them continued success.

This should surprise no one after rumors flying about the FFOC not paying out winnings, co-founder Stan Mistios removing his “gag of silence” only to promise an announcement that has just now been delivered and contradicting public messages about the contest’s ownership structure (hence, the retraction above). Additionally, the Fantasy Players Association broke the news over the weekend of FFOC parent company Poised to Stomp becoming “inactive” in the state in which it registered.

The FFOC debuted two years ago with Jerry Rice as its celebrity face and a historical grand prize. The ratio of entry fee to grand prize threw up red flags for business folks throughout the industry right away. For fantasy players, though, the contest did at least serve as an accessible, big-prize tournament for those seeking the challenge without the four-figure cost.

The FFOC’s creation and fall has inspired at least one of its contestants to launch his own entry in the national-contest field, a venture about which we’ll provide more details in the coming days.


Personal Profile: Ron Shandler

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Name: Ron Shandler
Nickname: none
Job title(s): Editor and Publisher of, Author of Baseball Forecaster
Full-time in fantasy? Yes, since 1994
Age: 52
Education: BBA Marketing, MBA Management Science, both from Hofstra University
Family status: Married, two daughters (17 and 19)
Favorite fantasy sport to play: Baseball
Favorite sport to watch: Baseball and hockey
Favorite team (any sport): New York Mets
All-time favorite athlete: Tom Seaver
Years playing fantasy: 26

I got my start in the fantasy industry when:
Started publishing the annual Baseball Forecaster in 1986.

Since then, my fantasy résumé includes:
Baseball Forecaster annual book (1986-present)
Baseball Forecaster monthly newsletter (1987-1998) (1996-present)
First Pitch Forum conference series (1994-present) (established 2001)
Other books published: Forecasting Pitching Careers (1995), Pitchers Almanac (1997), Fantasy Baseball Workbook (1999-2000), Graphical Player (2005-2008), Minor League Baseball Analyst (2006-present), Baseball Injury Annual (2007)

Three questions

1. What was different about the information and methods you brought to light with the 1986 debut of Baseball Forecaster? How did your audience for that title change with the growth of fantasy?

Originally, it wasn’t all that different. My intent for the Forecaster was to provide a centralized source for readers to enjoy the works of many sabermetricians — Bill James, Pete Palmer, etc. — so I presented current data using their formulas and some of my own. Adding projected player rankings in 1988 is what opened up the fantasy market.

2. Many fantasy players and writers dream of working with a professional sports team, an opportunity you got and then walked away from. What about that job didn’t appeal to you? Would you consider another position in MLB going forward?

In 2004, after 11 years out of Corporate America, I was running a successful company. I was quite content with making my own decisions and the independence that goes along with that. Major league teams are run just like any other major corporation — endless bureaucracy, layers of decision-making, stunted communication channels, office politics, etc. I’d consider owning a team, but being an employee again? Not likely.

3. What is it about baseball and its numbers that draws you there rather than to other sports?

Baseball is divided up into easily measurable events, unlike most other sports where the action is more fluid. As such, the sport lends itself to more accessible analysis of individual performance. It also lulls us into believing we can create projections based on this data, which is why it was a natural for fantasy applications.

Bonus: In the Fantasyland film, we saw your disbelief at being met at your door by a trade-talking Jed Latkin. After that encounter, do you just let others in your family answer the door instead?

Ha! At 10:30 in the morning, I am typically the only one home. You can just imagine what it is like when you have a mile-long To-Do list sitting on your desk, and Jed Latkin and a cameraman show up at your door asking for a few hours of your time.