Boser’s Tweetbeat: Paul Charchian Gauges the Lockout’s Impact on Fantasy Football
Boser’s Tweetbeat – Sifting through the hashtags to bring you the hottest trending Twitter topics in the Fantasy Football industry.
By Ryan Boser
By aggregating fantasy football speculation from across the Twitterverse, this tidy little column started out like gangbusters back in February. Sadly, the lockout has claimed another victim––useful analysis has slowed to a sickly crawl in recent weeks. In my last column, I wrote about not having anything to write about. Really compelling stuff.
To avoid a repeat performance, I’ve called upon my friend Paul Charchian to bail me out. Charchian co-founded Fanball in the early ’90s, and is now the majority owner of LeagueSafe and the President of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. The FSTA represents hundreds of fantasy sports businesses, meaning Charchian has his finger on the pulse of a teetering $800M industry.
RB: First thing’s first––what’s the temperature of the FSTA? Is the summer convention being sponsored by Xanex?
PC: The blood pressure of industry companies vary based on company size. For companies that can’t survive without an NFL season, there’s plenty of anxiety. For the big, multi-sport companies, it’s a whole lot easier to weather the storm. As I’m writing this, it’s only June 1, so we’re still maybe six weeks before companies will really start sweating bullets. But, it’s certainly an apprehensive time for our industry.
RB: I understand that ESPN has scrapped their 2011 guide. Are they pushing the panic button or hedging their bets?
PC: I can’t see how anyone could print a magazine this year. Bruce Taylor, co-founder of Fantasy Index, explained that 490 players are potential free agents, and there simply won’t be time to get a magazine on newsstands once those players land on teams. There’s no point in publishing a magazine without up-to-date free agency transactions, so Fantasy Index will not publish a printed magazine this year. Same thing with everyone else, too.
Keep in mind, most magazines need to have a month-long shelf life to be profitable. That’s August. Then, you need the better part of a month for printing and shipping. That’s July. Then, you need at least a month for writing, layout, etc… That’s June. It’s already game over for the print industry in 2011.
RB: There’s no denying it––fantasy football has pushed the popularity of the NFL through the roof. With an estimated 30M players, the owners have to be cognizant of fantasy’s impact on Sunday NFL Ticket subscriptions, the NFL Network and single game ratings… right?
PC: I interviewed SI’s Peter King last week, and he said that the most common comment he receives about the lockout is from fantasy players worried about the season. I fear that we’re mostly viewed as collateral damage by the NFL and the NFLPA. I’m sure on some level, they realize that fantasy football is impacted, but they probably assume that we’re so hardcore, we’ll come back.
RB: Please excuse my legal ignorance, but are class-action lawsuits by fantasy businesses against the NFL within the realm of possibility?
PC: No chance, Alan Dershowitz.
RB: What long-term effects, if any, do you think a lost season would have on the fantasy football culture?
PC: The loss of an entire season would certainly create enough animosity that many fans would drop the NFL, and correspondingly, fantasy football. It’s a worst-case scenario for the industry––kinda like having to repopulate the species with Clay Aiken and Pink.
RB: We’re about a month away from when leagues typically begin to organize. For leagues that want to push forward, do you have any advice for contingency plans if the lockout stretches into August?
PC: I think the biggest issue is going to be draft day logistics. It’s hard to coordinate 14 peoples’ schedules for a firm date, let alone one that might need to be adjusted several times. I’ve set up a rolling draft date. We’re drafting on the first Monday before the start of the season, whenever that may happen.
RB: From your draft approach to your enterprising endeavors, you’ve made your mark on the fantasy sports industry by thinking outside the box. Anything up your sleeve in the unlikely event of a season cancellation? (Ahem, Fantasy UFL?)
PC: Well, I’m not going to be building anything new for the contingency of an extended lockout. But I encourage people who want to keep the fantasy fun going this fall to try college football, fantasy MMA, fantasy movie leagues, or fantasy X-Factor. Broaden your horizons!
RB: I believe that this fantasy season is likely to favor veterans in situations of continuity, as rookies and new coaching staffs are at a real disadvantage with a shortened offseason. Fair assessment?
PC: That angle certainly makes sense. In particular, teams that have to start rookie quarterbacks are at a severe penalty. Another possible casualty are some of the much older veterans, guys who are already in their twilight. Will the time off accelerate their decline?
RB: With so many moving parts yet to be determined, how deep have you dug into your own personal rankings?
PC: To be honest, I haven’t updated my rankings since the end of last season. With almost 500 free agents, it’s an exercise in futility right now. I know people are holding mock drafts, and rookie drafts, but I just can’t see how valid any ranking would be at this time.
RB: I already know the answer, but I’ll ask anyways –– Arian or Adrian?
Ryan Boser is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA), and regularly contributes writing and commentary to numerous media outlets. Ryan’s own website, Out of My League, covers both fantasy football and the Minnesota sports landscape.