More than 50 million sports fans across America, Canada and Europe have caught the fantasy sports league fever. If you’re one of those with a knack for putting up websites, and keeping tabs of player statistics as well as updates on your favourite sport, you could cash in on the craze by simply hosting a fantasy sports league.
Fantasy sports is a cyberspace game where players act as teams owners who “sign”, “trade”, or “cut” real life active players to build their “fantasy team” that competes in a fantasy league for prizes or money.
As the games in the real league get underway – say the NBA, NFL or NHL — the running stats of the real players in the league affect the results of the fantasy sports league. Team owners in the fantasy league earn points based on how the running stats of his or her “players” stack up against “players” of other participating teams. The team owner with the most points at the end of the “season” wins.
The best way to prepare for hosting your own fantasy league is to first join existing sites that cater to your particular sports interest. There’s nothing like first experiencing what it’s like to own and manage a “team”, and devising your own recruitment and trading strategies to best your “rivals”.
Once you’ve become adept at managing your team, you can move up to learning how to manage a league of your own, and how to create one that will attract as many participants as possible. As a first timer, make use of Yahoo which guides you on how to set up a league, establish rules, and even how to run your draft from the site via a list or live draft.
Here are some questions you’d need to answer before taking the plunge to make money hosting your own fantasy sports league:
- What type of league do I want? Will it be the standard league where all players compete with one another, Five-On-Five, fantasy points, or head to head points? Pick the style that you feel most comfortable managing without sacrificing your players’ enjoyment.
- Who are the people I want as players in my league? Will I start with my colleagues and friends or do I want to open it to whoever visits my site? Make sure you only invite reliable people at the onset. You don’t want players leaving the league mid-way if their teams are not doing well and not paying all of their league fees.
- What role will the internet have in my league especially in providing my players with up-to-date stats at any given time?
- What kind of draft do I want? Will it be in the form of an auction or actual drafting? If you do decide on using the draft, two things you must do are:
- Set a time limit on making a pick which should not last for more than a minute per pick. Let your players know the rules from the beginning and allow them to make their picks ahead of others who are slowing down the draft.
- Use serpentine. The team that gets the last pick in the odd number rounds should get the 1st pick in the even number rounds if you are starting a new league.
Put everything in writing. Lay the rules BEFORE the draft including: (a) Fees and Prizes which include entry fees, the cost of transactions and how you divide the pool at the end of the season; (b) Trading deadlines; (c) Scoring System and Draft Day Format that is how the league will be scored and how the draft will be conducted; and (d) the Power of Commissioner Trade Veto which would ensure that all players have a fair shot at winning through balanced trades and recruitment.
It’s also important that you know as much detail as possible about each individual active player on the draft so you can effectively value each one. This is important also for your players so they can choose their own recruits based on the overall budget you have set for them to use.
Once you’ve settled all the issues and considerations mentioned, you can decide on how your website will generate income for you.
Your most logical option is to charge a regular league membership fee which gives them access to “Members Only” areas of your site where they can pick their own teams and gauge how they will do. If your site generates substantial traffic, you could even charge for a VIP membership where those who have access will also enjoy privileged information not available to regular members.
You can also consider opening your site to individuals who’d want to advertise their items or services on your domain. Just think of your site as a league with its own promo shop where people pay you rent to sell their stuff to your players.
It’s best that you ask all registered players for their entry fee up-front to be sure you have the prize money in hand when the league ends. Finally, don’t get greedy with your cut of the money. Determine what the most reasonable percentage should be that will also be acceptable to all your fantasy league players.
Are you making money with your own fantasy sports league or thinking about doing so? Be sure to share your comments, thoughts, ideas below…