2014 Fantasy Football Trends

With the 2014 football season upon us (who else is excited for NFL kickoff tonight?) we are seeing a variety of up and coming fantasy trends that we just had to share.  So sit back, relax and keep reading to see the list of our Top Fantasy Football Trends:

  1. Fantasy football participation is growing and growing and growing
  • Fantasy sports are attracting teens and younger kids because it enables them to capitalize on their favorite hobby – social networking.
  • Fantasy sports are also gaining popularity with women. Some are doing it because it is an interest of their boyfriends or husbands, but others just simply like football and find it a good way to engage.
  • In 2013, Ad Age estimated that the fantasy industry would generate more than $1 billion in revenue, and in 2014 that number will be even larger.
  • In 2013, the “derivative” market, fantasy football, had already grown larger than the foundational market, the NFL. According to the FSTA, fantasy football players spend roughly $11 billion annually, while the NFL’s annual revenues are closer to $10 billion.
  1. In a recent study by Fortune, they estimate that fantasy football could cost businesses $13.4 billion per season
  • Here is how they came up with the estimate: “The firm estimated 18.3 million employees play fantasy football on the job for two hours each week and multiplied that by the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s $24.45 hourly wage average. The result: $895 million lost each week.”
  • Other studies estimate that the average player spends up to 3 hours per week setting lineups and researching for their team.
  1. The NFL and its teams are jumping on the bandwagon and embracing fantasy sports
  • The 49ers are leading the charge. Their new stadium includes a fantasy sports lounge that will include Wi-Fi so GMs can stay up to date on how their players are doing.
  • The Jaguars are following their lead with a fantasy football lounge of their own that includes 20 HD TVs showing other live games and the popular NFL Red Zone.
  • Fantasy football is good for the NFL- According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) there are over 41 million people in the U.S. that play fantasy sports and 80% of those play fantasy football.

  1. Yahoo continues to be the most popular site for fantasy sports leagues, but some users aren’t happy with the site and are considering a switch to other fantasy powerhouses
  • Yahoo, ESPN and CBS are the largest hosts for fantasy sports’ leagues.

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  • Yahoo recently received a wave of angry tweets during a site outage on one of the biggest draft nights of the year. Some tweets even included threats to head on over to ESPN or CBS.

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  • Yahoo, who controls nearly 20% of the sector’s revenue, is the single largest player in the Fantasy Sports Services industry. In 2014, the industry is estimated to generate close to $1.4 billion in revenue in the United States alone.
  1. Daily games are gaining popularity
  • Daily fantasy sports take hours to choose a team, not months. And if you have a bad day, it won’t hurt you all season like a bad draft would.
  • FanDuel, the biggest daily fantasy site, said that it recently raised $70 million in an investment round just one week after its biggest competitor, DraftKings, announced $41 million in new funding.
  • FanDuel expects almost 600,000 people to use its site this year.
  1. NFL Comissioner, Roger Goodell, is handing out harsher punishments for various offenses, which means fantasy GMs have to be on their toes
  • Wes Welker just received a 4 game suspension for use of amphetamines, Josh Gordon is out for the year, and Matt Prater is out 4 games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
  • These guys were all top fantasy picks last year, but are they worth the risk now? (Gordon clearly isn’t after losing his appeal)
  • Ray Rice’s minor punishment, a 2-game suspension for domestic violence, recently caused a fury of backlash towards the league, but those who have drafted him will be happy to hear he won’t be out of their starting lineup for long.

These fantasy sports trends reflect the overall state of the industry.  Numbers are growing across the board, whether it is total participants, time spent, money for league fees or the amount of money invested in the industry’s leaders. Ultimately, 2014 should be a big year for Fantasy Football.

Since the industry is growing so fast, it is harder than ever to gain the upper hand.  Subscribe to scoutPRO today and take full advantage of all that we have to offer so you can dominate your league!

- Virgina Zakas, product marketing manager

How Predictive Analytics Have Changed the Game for High Stakes Pros

scoutpro fantasy football softwareFantasy sports are developing and evolving each and every year due to predictive analytics. Fantasy pros combine intense and extensive film study with statistical analysis to come up with their own player rankings and predictions for the season in order to win a variety of leagues they are involved in. As predictive analytics become increasingly common and accessible, more high stakes players are joining in on the fantasy sports craze. These fantasy players have no offseason. They must analyze everything from previous seasons’ statistics to the combine to offseason personnel changes, and they are finding ways to distinguish their method of evaluation in order to gain an edge.

High stakes leagues aren’t the only area of growth for fantasy sports; daily games are also becoming increasingly popular. In a Bloomberg article earlier this year, Erik Matuszewski notes that daily fantasy sports have exploded over the last couple of years. In 2012, participants spent over $3 billion on products, services and fees. By the end of last season, Fanduel, a leader in one-day fantasy sports, was averaging around $6 million in weekly payouts to its user.

Daily games, high stakes leagues and other season long fantasy leagues appeal to a range of participants. The Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimates that over 42 million people have played fantasy sports in 2014, and the average fantasy sports player has these demographics:

80% male
89.8% Caucasian
51.5% Not Married
Average Age 34
College Degree or More 78.1%
Years in Fantasy Sports 9.51
Hours Consuming Sports per week 17.89
Hours Consuming Fantasy per week 8.67
Favorite Fantasy Sport: Football (69.4%)
Pay League Fee 46.9%

Additionally, around 75% of players use information from between 4 and 6 sites, supporting the idea that research and predictive analytics from various sources are increasingly important. Players are looking for information from many different avenues to compile the most accurate and well-rounded data possible.  The FSTA also broke down how much fantasy players spend on entry fees:

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Simply put, gone are the days where fantasy sports are just for fun. Many participants are now looking to earn a buck (or hundreds of thousands!) by joining leagues with entry fees ranging anywhere from one to thousands of dollars.

Not surprisingly, the rise in popularity of fantasy sports is having an impact on the professional teams they rely on. Peter King of Monday Morning Quarterback says that one of the most interesting things he heard in week one of the 2014 NFL preseason is “the undue pressure some players and coaches feel from big-money fantasy football players. I had one coach tell me there’s so much money in some of these fantasy-football playoff pools that people who used to gamble with bookies illegally are now gambling in high-stakes fantasy-football leagues, which is not illegal.” Fantasy sports focus on the individual players, not the overall success of a team; therefore, the final outcome does not have an impact on fantasy owners. To many football fans, fantasy is now more important than the performance of their favorite NFL teams.

The rise in popularity of fantasy sports is only increasing with each season.  Predictive analytics are applicable for every type of fantasy league, whether it is daily games or high stakes leagues. Television networks are even buying into the idea that fantasy sports are important, and new shows dedicated solely to this growing industry are being created. NFL offices are also exploring options to embrace this phenomenon, and the 49ers are leading the charge.  Their new stadium will feature a fantasy football lounge so fantasy GMs can keep tabs on their players.

Ultimately, in order to be a successful fantasy player, research, research, and more research is necessary, and predictive data is helping to change the game of fantasy sports each year. As more people and institutions embrace fantasy sports, it will become harder and harder to create an edge. By incorporating accurate predictive data, however, fantasy players are able to find a way to get ahead of the game.

Interested in taking your fantasy sports game to the next level? Get your scoutPRO subscription today.

- Virginia Zakas, product marketing manager

Pass the Remote: Fantasy Football Comes to TV

Since its emergence in the early 90’s, modern fantasy football has been considered a computer-based activity as tens of millions of players huddle around their laptops each week to secure their bragging rights. But that’s all changing as fantasy football takes to the airwaves with new television broadcasts debuting this fall.

As FSTA president Paul Charchian said in a recent association newsletter, “These moves are fantastic for the industry as they bring fantasy sports into the living room in a way that hasn’t happened before.”

Until now, ESPN2 has aired the only dedicated fantasy football TV program – Fantasy Football Now. In addition, CBS Sports and Yahoo! Sports have broadcasted online fantasy shows during the NFL season. But beginning this fall, several new channels and programs are slated to air, including:

 

FNTSYFNTSY Sports Network – In June, Cablevision announced that it is now airing the first channel in cable TV history dedicated solely to Fantasy Sports. If you love SiriusXM’s Fantasy Sports station, you’re in luck – the popular “RotoExperts in the Morning” will be simulcast on the new network.

Fantasy Zone

 

Fantasy Zone – DirectTV is also jumping on the bandwagon and its new Fantasy Zone channel will be available only to NFL Sunday Ticket Max subscribers on Sunday afternoons.

 

So what content can viewers expect when they tune in? According to our own industry-first fantasy research, 79% of fantasy football GMs check their lineups very frequently. These players are seeking highly statistical and accurate information to make roster decisions, which is why 58% of survey respondents subscribed to a fantasy site and 68% of those who subscribed are using two or more sites. Simply put – fantasy GMs want accurate player data and we expect these new fantasy TV programs to serve up meaningful analytics that give GMs a cutting edge.

At Competitive Sports Analysis, we not only give scoutPRO® subscribers access to our highly accurate data, but we also package our predictions and license our data to entertainment sites, broadcasters, app developers, retail venues and more. Learn more.

- Virginia Zakas, product marketing manager

Top Takeaways from the FSTA Summer Conference

A few weeks ago, some of the nation’s top companies headed to San Francisco for the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Summer Conference.  Highlights, other than the beautiful weather, included new statistics on the rise in number of fantasy sports players and the adoption of a new set of best practices.  These apply to all FSTA members but are especially geared toward companies like scoutPRO that have a paid-entry business model.  There are also an exciting number of conversations going on about the importance of considering fantasy sports when building NFL stadiums. As Jeff Collins from Fanmouth noted, the 49ers and Vikings are looking to create an environment that is friendly toward fantasy sports players and invest in ideas that create a “customizable fan experience.”  This may include anything from Yahoo Fantasy Sports lounges to charging stations in stadium seats (we all know how fast cell phones die these days.) What I find to be the most exciting part about this is that NFL teams are recognizing the value in supporting the fantasy sports industry, and they want to make fantasy GMs happy!

Here are some of my favorite statistics and topics from the conference through twitter:

1. There are over 40.5 million fantasy players. Even more impressive, that number is up 5 million from last year! – @JoeTall

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2. Legal issues are always on the table when considering fantasy sports.

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  • Many, but not all, traditional forms of fantasy sports are likely legal under federal gaming laws.
  • Some states’ regulations are stricter than federal law and need to be analyzed separately.
  • It is not always safe to rely on other fantasy contests’ lists of prohibited states to determine where play-for-cash fantasy sports are illegal.
  • New businesses should innovate with caution, as certain unique formats of fantasy sports are more risky.
  • Even where states are not aggressively prosecuting fantasy sports, business owners should be aware of qui tam lawsuits by private plaintiffs.

See Marc Edelman’s full take in Forbes here.

3. 10 ways to know you are a fantasy addict

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4. A network dedicated solely to fantasy sports is about to launch.

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5. Ever wonder what the main reason is for why people don’t play fantasy sports? It’s time consuming.

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Las Vegas is up next for the winter FSTA conference. I can’t wait to hear how all of the innovations in fantasy sports are doing as the football season is winding down in January.  The NFL season will be here before you know it!

Don’t forget to connect with Competitive Sports Analysis on LinkedIn and follow @scoutPROfantasy before your draft for some tips on the upcoming season!

- Virginia Zakas, Product Marketing Manager

WEBINAR INVITE: Learn more about how your team can pilot scoutSMART

Early this summer we introduced scoutSMART as an easy way for collegiate coaches to compile and analyze data quickly and decisively.  Now, we’re offering coaches and teams the ability to test out our unique data and content for FREE through scoutSMART pilot programs.

This month, CSA will team up with its first pilot to put scoutSMART to the test. For three months, the pilot team’s coaches will be able to rate potential recruits on individual skills levels, track and integrate available player data and more at no charge, all while having personal input on the efficiency and quality of scoutSMART.

Interested in learning more about piloting scoutSMART for your own team? We invite you attend an exclusive Coaches Webinar.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Details:

Thursday, July 17 at 2 p.m.

Featuring: Diane Bloodworth, CEO + Founder of CSA and Mike Hagan, former NFL executive.

We’re looking forward to sharing our insights and gaining perspective from you!

How the Use of Analytics Can Improve App Engagement

Avg. TimeDid you know that according to Nielson, the average American spends 34 hours a month on mobile devices and other countries, such as the UK and Italy have even higher hours of mobile usage? In addition, a recent report on mobile usage claimed that over 80% of time people spend on smartphones is spent using apps. This focus on mobile provides an abundant amount of new opportunities to engage, entertain, and build loyalty. While the current focus is to use analytics to measure engagement, here are three ways that analytics can improve engagement in sports apps:

1. We love to compete and compare – App users (and especially users who are sports fanatics) love to test their knowledge and compete with other users. For example, a sports app can leverage predictive analytics from Competitive Sports Analysis (CSA) for player performance and ask users to predict which quarterback is going to have the most receptions in a game. Not only does this engage the app’s users, but it also gets them to check back later on to determine how they did against other participants and the computer in predicting the quarterback’s performance.

Mobile2. We value a source of unique and interesting stats and analytics – It’s simple. We like stats. They provide believable and factual content. But what we really value is a source of unique analytics and an app that provides this information about players we like and follow. We can then take this knowledge and
share it with others. Not to mention, we all love to impress others and hear someone ask, “how did you know that?” every once in a while, right?

3. We are fascinated by measuring performance – We live in a culture were we like to be able to quantify performance, both physical and mental. The recent proliferation of devices, such as Fitbit and Fuelband, to measure our physical activity and sleep supports this claim. I even have to admit to dancing around my bedroom late at night in order to hit my 10,000 steps for the day. CSA’s ability to predict and quantify athletes’ performance can be leveraged to improve engagement, especially in sports apps.

Overall, it seems that our love of computer generated analytics plays to our human needs – and isn’t that what engagement is all about?

As a leading provider of predictive data for sports we are excited to offer data licensing options that allow for engagement of sports fans with a gamified web or mobile-based portal. To find out more make sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow @scoutPROFantasy on Twitter.

Diane Bloodworth - Diane Bloodworth, Founder & CEO

Behind the scenes: How we analyze 2,340 games worth of data each MLB season

In a game where an eighth of an inch could be the difference between a ball landing harmlessly in outfielder’s glove or drifting over the centerfield fence for a game changing home run, the challenge to find usable data in baseball is at all-time high. Whether it is a major league team trying to find information to help them beat an opponent or a fantasy player finding that Golden Nugget to help them have success with their fantasy baseball teams, these keys to success are being developed by many technology companies with high financial rewards. This can be seen by the resent sale of Stats LLC, the leading provider of sports stats in the world, which was acquired by Vista Equity Partners for a believed price of more than $200 million dollars.

It was an interesting move for sure, but it leads to many questions. For example, what will their next move will be? The development of SportsVU player tracking software seems to be the next area of high revenue growth. In fact, this software was highlighted over the last NBA season and it provided tremendous information on a player’s overall skill set. This included his movement, defensive ability, and his willingness to move the basketball. With this new data, it pushes the bar for other companies, such as scoutPRO, to develop tools that streamline this information for quick easy use by scouts, opposing teams, colleges, and even fantasy players.

This move also raises a question on whether or not Vista Equity Partners has a target goal of becoming more of a player in the daily game market? What better way is there to cut out costs than by eliminating the middleman? This was proven over time when the cost of acquiring sports teams rights to cable providers was reaching record numbers. It came to the point where it made more sense for the cable company to own the sports franchise.

Major league baseball is also in the process of adding player tracking software. This opens a door for endless possibilities of data from each game. The big question, however, will be will this information provided upside financial value beyond the scope of the major league teams? scoutPRO is very excited with this news, as it believes it creates a revenue opportunity. In today’s world, time may be of more valuable than money. It’s their job to find ways to provide streamline information that will help fantasy players and coaches make better decisions with quick reliable information.

Over the course of a major league baseball season, there are 2340 games and there is an incredible amount of information beyond what the averagefan finds in a box score. It all startswith one pitch, which is decided by umpires with fickle strike zones. The difference between success and Player tracking 21.32.41 AMfailure with a batter and pitcher can be shown as easy as the batting averages for hitters when the pitch count gets to 2 strikes with equal or less balls (0-2 – .166, 1-2 – .178, and 2-2 – .195). A hitter has about a 50% higher chance of having success when the pitch count is in his favor when he gets to two balls (2-0 – .351, 2-1 – .338, 3-0 – .394, 3-1 – .368). When you add this information together for each batter/pitcher matchup with defensive alignments and possible weather conditions, you have a maze of uncertainty from day-to-day.

It’s almost like this information gives technology companies the opportunity to develop a real life video game of information where their predictions will be proven over the 180-day baseball season. It is impossible to predict short-term outcomes consistently during the baseball season, but there are plenty of opportunities to spot trends or possible winnable edges due to past history and recent trends. A fantasy player’s goal is to find information to make good decisions over time, which will deliver profitable fantasy seasons. Scouts are looking for any information to help them see and understand upside and downside risk with any player. ScoutPro is motivated to develop software to help save time and assist with better decision making in all areas across multiple sports. To find out more make sure to connect with scoutPRO on LinkedIn and follow @scoutPROFantasy on Twitter.

Shawn Childs- Shawn Childs, Lead Data Analyst

College Football – A lesson in loyalty and connectivity

College football game attendance is on the rise. In fact, according to the National Football Foundation, NCAA football had its highest attendance record in NCAA history in 2013. For the first time, figures topped 50 million, including 1.7 million spectators for the bowl games. The question is, however, will college football continue to maintain the attendance growth that has been observed over the past several years or will social media and the need to be connected to our devices 24/7 bring it down?

There’s no doubt college football enjoys a loyal following of fans that possess ties to their favorite colleges. Unfortunately though, more and more SanfordStadiumMillennial’s are leaving games early or staying home entirely because they cannot connect with others or participate on social media during the games. In return, Millennial’s are forming habits that will impact the future attendance at college football games.

In-stadium connectivity is expensive and can result in logistical challenges. It is no surprise that Sanford Stadium was wired for wireless in 2011. I love my Georgia Bulldogs, but have never been able to send a text or access Twitter while watching a game between the hedges. While the Southeastern Conference officials estimated that it would cost member schools $2 million each to improve stadium cell phone and Wi-Fi connectivity, they are now realizing that it is a critical component to enhancing the fan experience and filling stadium seats well into the future.

At CSA, we eagerly await the stadium improvements to share our predictive player analytics with fans before, during, and after college football games. We are excited to offer data licensing options that allow for engagement of sports fans with a gamified web or mobile-based portal that’s based on our predictive data. To find out more make sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow @scoutPROFantasy on Twitter.

Diane Bloodworth– Diane Bloodworth, Founder & CEO

Bring On the Fantasy Baseball Lounges

With sky high ticket prices and the growing popularity of fantasy football, more and more NFL fans are staying home on Sundays for an afternoon of “couchgating.”  When you can buy DIRECTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket for $329.94 and get access to every single game (and the Red Zone Channel) for the entire season, it makes sense as to why people are saying no to attending games in person.

Falcons Football LoungeA few teams have taken notice of this and devised plans to incorporate fantasy football lounges into their stadiums.  The Jaguars opened one in 2013, while the 49ers new stadium (set to open in 2014) will feature the Yahoo Fantasy Football Lounge.  In addition, the Falcons have entertained the idea of including a fantasy football lounge in their new stadium, which is tentatively scheduled to open in time for the 2017 NFL season.

While fantasy football lounges have been a topic of discussion quite a bit in recent months, you rarely hear anyone mention this concept for baseball.  As a matter of fact, I don’t think I have ever heard anyone bring it up.  Even though fantasy baseball isn’t as popular as football (#2 in terms of participants), it’s definitely not an afterthought.

Chop HouseWhen I think of all the MLB parks I have been to, one similarity immediately comes to mind.  They all have some sort of restaurant, bar or event area (ex: pool at Chase Field in Arizona) where people can go to enjoy an afternoon or evening with friends and family.  Take for example the Chop House at Turner Field.  Located in right center field, it has a restaurant on the lower level, and a patio on top (cleverly named the Top of the Chop patio).  My point in mentioning this is plenty of people go to Braves games every night and never actually end up paying attention to the game or even venturing to their seats.  They just hang out at the Top of the Chop patio for the duration of the game and spend copious amounts of $$$$ on hot dogs and beer.  A fantasy baseball lounge could do the exact same thing, bringing in a demographic that has shown a knack for spending money.

Imagine an area at your favorite team’s park with TV’s showing every MLB game, displays chock full of player stats and team lineups and a restaurant/bar all in the same place.  You would have everything you need to set your lineup for that day, and still be able to enjoy all the goodness that a live sporting event possesses. And don’t forget to connect with Competitive Sports Analysis on LinkedIn and follow @ScoutProFantasy on Twitter to be up to date on all things fantasy baseball throughout the 2014 season.

24eeb7a  – Jon Deming, Product Marketing Manager

Fantasy Baseball Outlook

If you want to get technical, the 2014 MLB season officially kicked off this past weekend with the 2-game series in Australia between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks. But when everybody thinks of the start of baseball season, Opening Day is what comes to mind. We are just a week away from that (March 31st), which means there is still plenty of time for you to sign up for a fantasy baseball league.

While football is (and always will be) king of the fantasy sports industry, fantasy baseball has plenty of fans as well. Sandwiched between football and basketball, baseball comes in as the 2nd most popular fantasy sports, according to research done by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

On the surface, fantasy baseball can seem like a very time consuming hobby.  While that is definitely true, it can be a lucrative hobby at the same time.  Take for instance our lead data analyst, Shawn Childs.  A member of the National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) Hall of Fame, Shawn has won over $140,000 playing in NFBC events alone.  While some of the entry fees for these NFBC events are over $1,000, you don’t have to be a high roller to rake in some Benjamins.  For instance, you can enter DraftKings Opening Day Grand Slam, a 4-game event with $500,000 in prizes, for as low as $2!

CSA blogAs you get ready to do your fantasy baseball draft, be sure to take a look at the most recent injury reports.  Whenever you’re reading a baseball article and the name Dr. James Andrews appears, that can only mean one thing, Tommy John surgery.  That’s exactly what has been happening as Kris Medlen, Jarrod Parker, Patrick Corbin and Brandon Beachy have all suffered elbow injuries in recent weeks.  Medlen, Beachy and Parker have all officially been ruled out for the season, while it’s widely believed Corbin will suffer the same fate.  To make it even worse, Medlen, Parker and Beachy have all already had Tommy John surgery in the past.  Couple all of this with Matt Harvey’s late season elbow injury in 2013 and you have 3 teams (Mets, Braves and Diamondbacks) who will all be without their #1 starters for the entire 2014 season.

Like any sport, injuries are just a part of the game and teams will need to find guys to step in and pick up the slack.  The Braves, who have been spending money like Mike Tyson this offseason, dipped into the free agent market to bolster their all of a sudden wounded starting rotation.  For a cool $14.1 million, they were able to sign Ervin Santana, who posted a 3.24 ERA with the Kansas City Royals in 2013.

Despite all of this injury nonsense, the baseball world has not stopped spinning.  Opening Day will still take place on March 31st, so go sign up for a fantasy baseball league today.  Whether you are just playing with friends for bragging rights, entering one of the NFBC’s high stakes events or taking a stab at daily fantasy baseball, give it a shot.

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If you need some help, be sure to check out our all-new fantasy baseball lineup optimizer!  With just a few clicks of your mouse, you can import your team and optimize it based on your league’s rules and scoring system.  Best of all, the import roster feature supports all the top fantasy baseball sites (ESPN, Yahoo, CBS and RealTime Sports) and provides lineup recommendations based on our predictive scoutEDGE scores.

Click here to learn more and sign up for our 2014 fantasy baseball package!

24eeb7a  – Jon Deming, Product Marketing Manager