SBD/November 8, 2012/Events and Attractions

SMT Conference: Fantasy Sports Execs See Spike In Business Despite Economy

Ambrosius (c) said fantasy sports business is on the rise despite economic woes
The business of high-stakes fantasy gaming was examined during an afternoon panel at the ’12 Covington & Burling Sports Media & Technology conference. A recurring theme during the discussion was the black eye on the fantasy sports industry from certain companies not paying out on games in the past. Head2Head Sports GM Stacie Stern said that the issue is always being discussed at the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. Stern: “I don’t know how much regulation we as an association can place on companies. The best thing is to put the power in consumers’ hands. Tell them, ‘Hey, check out this company. Look up their reputation, their history.’... Unfortunately, people are going to be on the bad end of that. It happens in all businesses. I just don’t think we can regulate it.” The issue of the weakened economy was also discussed, but most panelists said they have not seen a real decrease in participation numbers. Stats LLC GM for Consumer Fantasy Games Greg Ambrosius said, “Our numbers are up 38% this year, and last year was up as well. The numbers keep growing and growing. ... People still have a passion for fantasy football and everyone thinks they can win on draft day.” Fantasy Football Players Championship co-Founder & Managing Partner Alex Kaganovsky, whose company has more than 1,000 teams in ’12 with cash prizes reaching the $1.2M mark, added, “This year, we saw absolutely no letup in participation. In fact, it has gone up incredibly.” The panelists also discussed ways to potentially grow interest in high stakes games. Fulltime Fantasy Sports VP/Tournaments Emil Kadlec said, “The opportunity may not necessarily be in televising a draft, but in really following the characters. These people are from all walks of life. Professionals, students.”

See the conference's full agenda and read more in our dedicated SMT blog.
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