FantasySportsMadness.com: Creation of a Brand New Fantasy Sports Website

len laberCorrespondent IMarch 4, 2009

        FantasySportsMadness.com went live about six months ago with a click of a button which turned off the Under Construction message and let the general public in on a brand new fantasy sports website.  It took over two years to develop and there were many points all the way where my cousin and I were ready to call it quits.  However with perseverance and dedication to making our own unique website a reality, it was finally completed.  Looking back at how the website became what it is today, it was quite an adventure . I hope others who have their own big idea whether it is sports related or not will also challenge themselves to make a vision a reality

My Background

Think of me as your average Joe the Plumber without any plumbing experience. I graduated from the University of Connecticut (go Huskies!) and am slowly climbing the corporate ladder. There have been many nights of drinking in NYC and sitting around the couch watching sports. My friends and I have been avid fantasy sports fans primarily in football and March madness for more than a decade now and the competition has helped to keep everyone in touch. Today I have a full-time job, family with two kids under two years old, and just finished my MBA at Rutgers. As your life evolves and becomes busier, unfortunately fantasy sports still require the same time commitment. This is the top reason why people drop out of playing as they get older and how FantasySportsMadness.com hopes to keep them playing forever.

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While I have thought how cool it would be to build my own fantasy website for many years, sitting down and taking it seriously was another matter. Where do you begin building a website completely from scratch with all the functionality I would want?? When I started attending MBA classes, I met a few fellow students who started their own business ventures. While I never considered myself an entrepreneur and thought of building the site more as a hobby, the idea that the website would be a new concept and fill a niche fantasy sports market sounded like a good idea now and not impossible to do.

Finally I was ready to take the plunge with the help of my cousin who had a technological background. Now imagine buying a domain name and have absolutely nothing on the web page. This was daunting but once thoughts were put down on paper such as rules for the games, what the homepage and league pages should look like, there was a skeleton to work with.  However before we could start, we needed to hire a professional to develop the website. This was an amusing process as some bids received were in the thousands while one guy said it would take a minimum of $100,000 to develop!

The guy we ended up with was great at his job but knew nothing about fantasy sports. That mean providing every little detail about what we wanted and things that look so simple on other sites took months to get it right. Nothing was more aggravating than finding out that something that was working got broke due to other non related changes. After more than a year in development, the games were for the most part fully operational. However, we realize the importance of reliability and didn’t want to rush out the product so for the last year, all the games have been played on a small scale. Errors were discovered, improvements made and now the website is ready to hit the big stage.

The Concept

           The goal of the website is to provide fun and easy to play playoff-focused fantasy games that will help all members enjoy their fantasy sports experience for many years to come.  Why focus on the playoffs for football, baseball, basketball and March Madness? The playoffs are a short and intense season of their own and offers the added dimension that you need players to put up stats and have their team win the playoffs to continue to score points. Fantasy sports has largely been ignored when it comes to the postseason. Now when the regular season ends, your fantasy sports season doesn’t have to.  The rules are kept to be as simple as possible so even a casual fantasy sports fan can get involved without being bogged down with pages of game rules. Lastly, the time commitment to the games is kept to a minimum by getting rid of the draft component and player transactions besides setting your lineup anytime at your convenience. All of this is then provided with reliable technology and prompt customer service.

         There are two types of games set up for each sport called One and Done and Survival-Style.  One and Done games are played with each owner in a league setting their own lineup of players for each round of the playoffs from among all the playoff teams with the twist that you can’t use the same game twice. Therefore with a unique combination of players, you can score big points. Survival-style playoff fantasy games have you choose your own roster of players for the whole duration of the playoffs. Therefore you need you think about which teams will go far and which players will put up the big stats.

           Both games have the following features which make them easy to play while keeping the fun of fantasy sports alive:

  • No draft component – no more hassle of organizing a draft or complaining that you go the last pick again this year. Instead, everyone has fair shot of using the best players but lineups will be different based on which teams owners think will go far in the playoffs
  • Unlimited number of teams in a league – finally you can get all your friends together in one league to crown the true champion instead of having to keep track of your team in multiple leagues
  • Minimal time requirement – besides not having a draft, there are no free agent picks, waivers, trades, and other player transactions that require you to keep up to date with player news for three hours a day to gain an edge. All you have to do is set your lineup of players up to the minute before the start of a player’s game. That’s it. Then you can just check back anytime to see how your players did and your place in the standings.

The Future

       With the website up and running, now comes the next challenge of letting everyone know about it. This will definitely be the hardest step to get the website well known but hopefully once people check it out, they’ll like the game formats and keep playing year after year. Word of mouth is often the best method for if a friend of mine is playing in a fantasy league and invited me to play, I most likely would too.  Hope people start spreading the word! I’m not planning on quitting my day job any time soon and if the site pays for itself in 10 years, I’ll be happy. Regardless of what the future holds, I’ll be satisfied knowing that with much hard work and dedication, my vision of a fantasy sports website has come alive for all fantasy sport fans to enjoy for many years to come. 

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