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  • Writer's pictureHahn Lee

Fantasy Sports FTW

Updated: Jul 5, 2020

July 2, 2020


I am a long-time fantasy sports enthusiast. I never played the paper and pencil version where you needed to get the newspaper box scores to update league standings, but I have been playing for a long time.


The first league that I played in was in the late 90s. Since then I have played most sports - football, basketball, baseball, you name it. In fact, I’ve even tried fantasy golf and fantasy NASCAR (even though I don’t follow either sport)! Nowadays, with less time on my hands, I stick to the big three (football, basketball and baseball), but I have concluded that baseball is far and away my favorite. It’s so complex and statistically rich. And since the player pool is so deep and the season is so long, there is a lot of opportunity to make up lost ground if you have a horrible draft. I speak of this from lots of busted draft room experiences…


According to Wikipedia, the first reported fantasy baseball league began in Boston in 1960. Harvard University sociologist William Gamson started the "Baseball Seminar" where colleagues would form rosters that earned points on the players' final standings in batting average, RBI, ERA and wins. Gamson later brought the idea with him to the University of Michigan where some professors played the game... and from these modest beginnings, an entire industry emerged.


The Fantasy Sports and Gaming Association, whose mission is “to support fantasy sports, sports gaming, and new forms of fan engagement,” cites that 60 million people play fantasy sports in the U.S. and Canada. (Interesting fact: approximately 80% of those 60 million people play fantasy football). And for those of you that are interested in TAM, IBISWorld estimates that the TAM for the industry is approximately $8 billion. These are pretty large numbers for what most people would consider a niche industry!


I recently learned of a start-up in the fantasy sports industry called Sleeper. Maybe they aren’t a sleeper after all, because they just successfully raised a $20 million Series B led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) bringing their total raised to $27.3 million, according to Crunchbase. Former NBA player and UCLA star Baron Davis invested in the Series B, so Sleeper must be doing something right…(Go Bruins).


I haven’t had the fortune of playing on Sleeper, but I hope to one day… Then I would join the >1 million active players that have (as of 2019). As of this writing, the Sleeper app ranks #55 in the Apple App Store sports category with 4.7 average stars on 29k ratings. Impressive.


Similar to how “I’d like to buy the world a Coke,” I want more people to appreciate and enjoy fantasy sports. And for this to happen, I hope more start-ups like Sleeper emerge, achieve success and become part of the zeitgeist. And with that hopeful thought, I will leave you with my much less hopeful Yahoo! Fantasy sports profile.



(Sources: Wikipedia, Yahoo! Fantasy sports, fsga.org)


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