July 31st, 2010

Personal Profile: Tony Cincotta

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Name: Tony Cincotta
Job title(s): VP of marketing, talk show host (FantasyPros911.com)
Full-time in fantasy? No, also a project manager for Fiserv
Age: 41
Education: UMass-Boston
Family status: Married with 3 children — Tatum 9, Cole 7, Brady 4 (Named after a QB)
Favorite fantasy sport to play: Baseball
Favorite sport to watch: Football
Favorite team (any sport): Boston Red Sox
All-time favorite athlete: Earl Campbell
Years playing fantasy: 25 years

I got my start in the fantasy industry when: I enjoyed playing fantasy sports at early age and continued to play into my “adult” life. So I would look for any edge necessary to decimate my opponents and take home the cash. That is when I discovered the world of podcasts. I thought the podcasts contained great information, but they could help you with your lack of sleep as well. There was no entertainment value at all, no passion, and I wanted to put character into the world of podcasts. Most of the podcast hosts at that time thought they were Walter Cronkite. In the early days, I started recording the podcasts and placing them on iTunes. I was immediately amazed at the amount of people that started to tune in.

The e-mails were incredible, and I was providing great information and saying some of the craziest things ever heard on a podcast. That’s when the light went off and I said, “why not try to make a living and enjoy your work.” Then, through calling in and meeting the folks at MLB.com, we launched www.FantasyBaseballMafia.com. It was a small startup site with no money and the dream to bring competive Fantasy Baseball Keeper Leagues to the fantasy baseball industry. That mission was accomplished, and then I ran into the great Lenny Melnick.

Three questions

1. How did you get started doing fantasy sports podcasts and talking fantasy sports on the radio? How has the audience changed in the time you’ve been doing it?

I started in the podcast industry because of my love of talk radio growing up in Boston. I would listen to sports radio and shows like Howard Stern as opposed to music. In my mind, I thought the podcast industry would take off and I could put together a great product for the listener. In the early days I was lucky to have great guests such as Mike Siano, Cory Schwartz, Pete McCarthy, Lawr Michaels and Lenny Melnick to name a few. Those guys gave me instant credibility, and the shows became very popular. The shows have evolved to where the listeners wanted fewer guests and more of our opinions. That was pretty humbling that people actually cared what you had to say and would take a couple hours a week out of their lives to listen to you. So we gave them what they wanted, and each year the listenership keeps rising at an incredible rate.
I then wanted to have the opportunity to extend the show out to places where people would not be looking for a fantasy sports podcast. So I started promoting my shows to local radio and got a chance to work an NFL draft show in 2008 for FOX Sports Radio in Jacksonville. That was like giving an alcoholic a beer. I wanted more and pursued it like there was nothing else on Earth.

I was able to land a show on ESPN Radio in St. Augustine, Fla., called The Sports Bash. The show was a big hit in the area, and we were able to attract the casual sports fan over to our eccentric world of fantasy sports. Then the first time that we started talking to Sirius XM about starting a 24-7 fantasy sports radio station, it felt awesome. We now have placed fantasy sports in the mainstream — right there with Howard Stern, Oprah Winfrey and, of course, the Boss (Bruce Springsteen)!

2. What brought you together with the other Fantasy Pros 911 guys to launch that site?

The move to FantasyPros911.com was an easy one for me. At the time, I was working at FantasyBaseballMafia.com, and the idea there was just to keep things simple and small. I had the itch and wanted a little more. There was this guy named Lenny Melnick who did fantasy baseball over at MLB.com. I ended up meeting up with Lenny after listening to his podcasts. To this day, Lenny is the only guy doing a solo podcast that I can listen to. (So if you are currently doing a podcast solo, grab a co-host. Friendly advice. LOL.) Lenny was part of the Melnick & Greco website, but they wanted to add staff and expand the site. They grabbed Patrick Di Caprio from FantasyBaseballGenerals.com, and I loved the energy and passion of the parties involved.

The first two years have been exciting, and the guys have been tremendous to work with. We are well established in the baseball community and now are working to improve our fantasy football product to match our baseball offerings. Paul Greco has been busy recruiting some of the top writers in the industry. I am fired up about the direction of the site and the 2010 fantasy football season. The basis of the site was to build a community where our readers and listeners have access to Lenny Melnick, Paul Greco, Pat Dicaprio and myself. We provide a 1-800 number for instant advice. We answer emails in an hour, except during the shows. (We are good but not that good.) We also have a community section at the site where users create their own page and can discuss anything from fantasy sports to hot chicks.

3. You bounce around among several fantasy sports (baseball, football and basketball), beyond the normal one or two on which most analysts focus. What, to you, are the key differences among the different fantasy sports, and what are the positives and negatives for each?

This is a great question, and the reason I bounce around is ADD. The one thing that is essential to success in any fantasy sport is opportunity. You do not have to manage a player’s success to find the next hidden gem. It is all about opportunity, if a baseball player attempts to steal 50 bases and is thrown out on 27 occasions, that’s my guy. Most people see that player as a guy with 23 stolen bases. I see it as a player who has to improve or the coach would not allow him to keep stealing bases.

In football you want to focus on running backs that have no capable [fill-in]. If you think that Frank Gore or Michael Turner is a better player than DeAngelo Williams, than you need to speak with Jon Gruden. Gore and Turner have the opportunity for maximum touches. That is why Cedric Benson should have never surprised people last season. In football, focus on touches and targets, and the points will come. Fantasy basketball is gaining popularity. The amazing thing in basketball is the different styles of league. In head-to-head leagues, Dwight Howard is a stud. On the Roto side, he is a category killer.

The biggest positive in fantasy sports is football is 16 weeks and is not the drain of a six-month season. This hurts basketball and baseball with your average fantasy sports player. I have come to love daily fantasy sports contests and often play over at FantasyFactor.com and FanDuel.com. I think this is the wave of the future for fantasy baseball and basketball players.

Bonus: What exactly are you “all fired up” about?

I am all fired up about life! I sit and talk about fantasy sports and have a great family and a hot wife. Why would I not be fired up? I can host a fantasy football show on Sunday morning, take 50 calls about their lineups, then shift the focus to my teams in the afternoon and watch Ray Rice bring you a fantasy championship. Then to celebrate my championship and the fact that I have just won an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas, you head to the strip joint with your wife. (There is nothing better than having a lap dance with your wife in the VIP room with you. Try it and e-mail your thoughts.) That is living a life of fantasy my friends, make it rain in 2010.