September 7th, 2010

JT: Wiegert a Worthy Adversary, Industry Stalwart

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

By Jeff Thomas

The split with Fanball is just a bump in the road for Charlie Wiegert. He’ll be back, although he’ll probably spend more time on the beach and with his family. He deserves it.

I have a unique view of Charlie’s career — as a long-time competitor. Ali and Frazier? Maybe not, but we’ve been in the ring together more than once.

Charlie and his partners launched CDM about nine months before I opened Sports Buff in the early 90’s. We battled often for game-management deals and watched a long, long list of competitors come and go. CDM actually made an offer to purchase Sports Buff in 1999. It didn’t work out, but I was able to get to know Charlie better during the process. He’s a great guy, he loves this industry, and he has worked hard to help it grow and prosper.

His contributions are extensive. In fact, most current industry operators have no idea how extensive. Even before the FSTA was created, Charlie organized meetings in St. Louis to begin the communication process between companies in a very young industry. He and CDM invested heavily and led efforts to help clarify legal and licensing issues, years before the FSTA or the MLBAM lawsuit. Without these early efforts, many of today’s content companies and game operators — small, medium and large — would not exist.

He has followed that up with 12 years of devotion to the FSTA Board, continuing to contribute to industry growth for a second decade.

This is an odd set of events with Fanball. I think Fanball is in trouble. Charlie’s not. He’ll be fine.

(Jeff Thomas is an 18-year veteran of the fantasy sports industry, fellow founding member of the FSTA — for which he served a three-year term as president — and CEO of World Fantasy Games, which owns and operates this site.)