August 26th, 2010

Rovell Features the WCOFF

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

The latest video in the “Fantasy Fortune” series by CNBC sports business guru Darren Rovell features the World Championship of Fantasy Football, the best known of the high-stakes fantasy competitions.

Among the information put forth in this piece is the statement from co-owner Dustin Ashby that the WCOFF has awarded $14 million to date …


Rovell Informs Folks That Fantasy is Big Business

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

All this week, CNBC sports business maven Darren Rovell is focusing a series of reports on the emerging fantasy sports industry.

Although the first few videos aren’t likely to present much new information to anyone who has been tracking this industry closely, it is still interesting at least to get the more mainstream business perspective of fantasy sports. The quick take: We still have some work to do to be broadly accepted as a serious business segment.

TV talking heads will often provide less-than-ideal examples, but if you watch the video below beyond the soundbyte from FSTA president Paul Charchian, you’ll hear Power Lunch co-host Tyler Mathisen say, “Shakegian? Was that his name? … They have a trade association now?”

Yup, “they” have a trade association now … and have for more than 10 years, actually.

Video No. 2 repeats some of the industry dollar figures laid out the first time around, but it also presents some interesting information. For one thing, 20 percent of fantasy content sites reportedly follow subscription models at this point (though I’m not sure if that number includes those with free and pay levels).

Perhaps more interestingly (depending on your priorities), Hooters says it expects to host more than 25,000 fantasy football drafts this year. According to the company’s website — which I swear I only visited for work purposes — the chain has 455 restaurants in 44 states, which averages out to nearly 55 drafts per location. With that kind of projection (no matter how truthful it might be), it’s no wonder Hooters offers a dedicated URL for draft-party reservations, as well as a free draft kit (with draftboard, cheat sheets, etc.) and a fantasy-centric game-piece gimmick that includes a Super Bowl trip.

Hooters is merely another example of sports-bar type settings realizing the power of the fantasy sports consumer and pursuing us players. Even if Tyler Mathisen doesn’t get it, those paying a bit more attention do.

We’ll have more as we see further Rovell fantasy videos (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Here’s the aforementioned second one …


Don’t Try to Insure Favre

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Between the surgery on his ankle and the loss of No. 1 receiver Sidney Rice for half the season, plenty of folks to pick up Brett Favre in fantasy drafts will be nervous about his 2010 outlook. Unfortunately for them, they won’t be able to buy insurance to help them rest easier.

According to this report from CNBC sports business guru Darren Rovell, is not including Favre among its list of insurable players in 2010.

“Favre is not going to be insurable this year,” said Henry Olszewski of Fantasy Sports Insurance, which is in its second year of operation. “Drafting him could be a good idea, but insuring him is not. He’s old, he’s got ailing injuries that constantly perk up, and even though he plays through them, there’s a big risk.”

Now, I’m no insurance salesman, so I’ll leave the official risk-assessment work to those folks and their actuaries (although my younger brother is one of those). From here, though, leaving Favre out of the available fantasy insurance packages seems to be a bigger risk for those trying to profit from sales.

Take a quick look at Favre’s player profile, and you’ll see what we all already know: The guy has played a full schedule every year since 1993. He simply doesn’t miss games, despite the assorted ailments along the way that comes with being targeted for a living by angry, 290-pound dudes. (As Rovell points out, including playoffs, Favre has played in 309 consecutive games, an NFL record.)

This time last year, we all wondered whether Favre’s surgically repaired right (throwing) elbow would hold up. All he did was thrive his way through the full 16-game regular season and two playoff contests.

According to FSI policy, an insured football player must miss nine regular-season games (or combine for 14 with another covered player or 18 with two others) to draw an insurance payout. Doesn’t it make sense for the insurance seller to bet against the possibility of Favre missing nine games or more?

Obviously, the advancing age and collection of injuries along the way increased the potential risk, but it’s just that concern coupled with his transcendent prominence that would make Favre an ideal unofficial pitch man for selling fantasy insurance.

Alas, fantasy drafters will have to pick up the NFL iron man at their own risk. Frankly, it’s a risk I’m willing to take.