SBJ/20100308/Forty Under 40

Mike Kerns


Less than two years after a radical corporate reorganization, Citizen Sports Network and its chief executive, Mike Kerns, are now part of the conversation among major digital sports media properties.

Citizen Sports Network

The former operator of the stock market-inspired fantasy operation ProTrade reconstituted itself in 2008 as a large-scale purveyor of fan communities and fantasy gaming via social-networking portals and through mobile devices.

As a result, Citizen Sports Network was among the vanguard of creating a distributed content strategy in which it leveraged the power of external networks such as Facebook as opposed to trying to draw users to the single destination site it operates.

Age: 33
Titles: CEO and founder
Company: Citizen Sports Network
Education: B.A., UCLA
Family: Wife, Fiona
Career: Associate, Angel Investors, LP; chief of staff, Moorad Sports Management; founded ProTrade in 2005, which became Citizen Sports in 2008
Last vacation: Our honeymoon in Anguilla in November
Favorite book: "Moneyball," by Michael Lewis. The book changed my career and I believe that of many others.
Favorite movie: "The Shawshank Redemption"
What’s on your iPod? Dave Matthews, Ryan Adams, Green Day, Damien Rice
Pet peeve: Dishonesty
Greatest achievement: Convincing my wife to move from Ireland and marry me
Greatest disappointment: Only that I wish I could have known my mom better before she passed away
Fantasy job: Ive got it sports, Facebook, iPhone/Android ... no brainer.
Executive you most admire: My entire board of directors and Ron Conway. Ive been very fortunate to have worked for only world-class executives from day one.
Business advice: Surround yourself with people who are better than you in their field of expertise, point to the hill you all are going to take, and then provide the tools to let them all succeed.

The new operating model paid big dividends during 2009, a year in which Kerns and Citizen Sports struck a sales and content partnership with MLB Advanced Media, more than doubled its revenue and its aggregate audience to more than 3 million unique users per month, and achieved intermittent profitability. It launched fantasy games for the English Premier League and Spain’s La Liga, and a large suite of iPhone and Android applications through its Sportacular unit that drew more than 2.5 million total installations.

An expanded sales force has paved the way for major advertising deals with top corporate clients such as Burger King, AT&T, Marriott, Miller Lite and Finish Line.

“People are turning to our services. We feel like we’ve definitely connected with a segment of the market,” Kerns said. “We staked out a position where we can successfully compete and coexist with the traditional operators.”

Back to 2010 Forty Under 40 list.

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