Archive for March, 2009
Interview by Darren Heitner.
I am a big fan of Kelly Perdew. A mutual friend of ours, Joe Favorito, suggested that I invite the einner of Season 2 “The Apprentice” and CEO of Rotohog to the 2009 UF Sports Law Symposium. I took Joe up on his suggestion and Kelly provided some great insight for everybody in attendance. I then bumped into Kelly at a Super Bowl event in Tampa while he was celebrating his birthday. I am not sure which number birthday it was, but by looking at Kelly, you would not know he was any older than twenty-five. That being said, looks do not matter much. He has accomplished a lot in his young life and is a innovator in the business of sports. Joe Favorito again reached out to me with the idea that I interview Kelly for SportsAgentBlog.com. The result is below.
Darren Heitner: You went from winning the Apprentice to founding a successful fantasy sports platform. Fill in the space between. What are some interesting things that happened at that point in your life?
Kelly Perdew: I HAD A GREAT YEAR IN NEW YORK WORKING FOR DONALD. I LEARNED A LOT ABOUT REAL ESTATE AND EVEN MORE ABOUT BRANDING. I’VE ALWAYS LOVED SPORTS AND HAVE BEEN IN A 12-MAN KEEPER FANTASY FOOTBALL LEAGUE WITH MY TWO BROTHERS AND NINE BUDDIES FOR EIGHT YEARS (OF WHICH I’M THE 2 YEAR RUNNING SUPER BOWL CHAMP - CAN YOU SAY ‘THREEPEAT?!!!” - SORRY COULDN’T RESIST). WHEN THE RECRUITER CALLED AND ASKED IF I’D BE INTERESTED IN RUNNING A FANTASY SPORTS GAMING COMPANY WITH INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS LIKE MISSION VENTURES, DFJ DRAGON, AND ALLEN & CO, I JUMPED AT THE OPPORTUNITY!
Darren Heitner: How has having a law degree been beneficial in your life? Do you think it is necessary degree or even something that should be sought after by sports agents?
Kelly Perdew: CRITICAL THINKING HELPS YOU IN EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE. BEING ABLE TO BREAK DOWN A PROBLEM TO ITS ROOT DRIVERS AND LOGICALLY DETERMINE POTENTIAL OUTCOMES IS CRITICAL TO SUCCESS. OF COURSE, IT ALSO HELPS YOU KNOCK DOWN THE LEGAL BILLS WHEN THEY COME IN!
Darren Heitner: What are some of the big sports law issues that fantasy sports platforms are currently battling? What do you believe has the potential to create potential legal problems in the future in your space?
Kelly Perdew: THERE IS ALWAYS GOING TO BE SOME TENSION BETWEEN THE RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH AND OWNERSHIP OF INFORMATION TO INCLUDE STATISTICS, LIKENESSES, LOGOS, AND THOSE TYPES OF THINGS. FORTUNATELY FOR OUR BUSINESS AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC/FANS, THE COURTS HAVE CONCLUSIVELY COME DOWN ON THE SIDE OF FREE SPEECH IN MOST INSTANCES. ADDITIONALLY, WHEN AN INDUSTRY REALLY STARTS GROWING LARGER, LIKE FANTASY IS NOW, YOU CAN SOMETIMES SEE MONOPOLY-LIKE BEHAVIOR IN CERTAIN AREAS - I THINK YOU ARE GOING TO START SEEING MUCH CLOSER SCRUTINY OF THE MARKET POWER AND MONOPOLISTIC BEHAVIOR OF SOME OF THE ENTITIES IN THE SPORTS SPACE.
Darren Heitner: You seem to be willing to travel often to speak to those interested in breaking into the sports business. What are some of the reasons why you devote your time to informing others?
Kelly Perdew: I BELIEVE STRONGLY IN GIVING BACK. IT IS ONE OF THE CRITICAL LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES THAT I WROTE ABOUT IN MY BOOK, “TAKE COMMAND: 10 LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES I LEARNED IN THE MILITARY AND PUT TO WORK FOR DONALD TRUMP.” ADDITIONALLY, MOST OF THE EVENTS ARE EXCELLENT FOR NETWORKING FOR PARTNERS, CLIENTS, INVESTORS AND POTENTIAL EMPLOYEES.
Darren Heitner: Should sports agents play fantasy sports? Why/why not? If they play, should they feel bad if they pass over selecting their client for another agent’s client?
Kelly Perdew: EVERYONE SHOULD PLAY FANTASY SPORTS. IT IS FUN AND IT MAKES YOU BECOME A BETTER, MORE PASSIONATE, MORE EDUCATED FAN OF THE ATHLETES, TEAMS AND SPORTS. PICK THE PLAYER YOU THINK WILL GET YOU THE MOST POINTS!
Darren Heitner: Your company just secured an additional $2 million in funding. How were you able to secure this funding in an economic climate that is mighty bleak?
Kelly Perdew: IT IS A VERY DIFFICULT CLIMATE IN WHICH TO RAISE CAPITAL. FORTUNATELY, WE HAVE STRONG AND EXPERIENCED INVESTORS IN ROTOHOG WHO BELIEVE IN THE TEAM, THE VISION AND THE SPACE. ADDITIONALLY THE TIMING OF THE FINANICNG POSITIVELY IMPACTS US AS NOW OUR CLIENTS (TURNER DIGITAL, FOX ESPANOL, AVP, ETC…) FEEL MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE THAT WE’LL “BE AROUND” FOR A LONG TIME WHEREAS SOME OF OUR COMPETITORS MAY NOT.
Darren Heitner: People are obsessed with athletes, which is a major reason why fantasy sports games have thrived. Will we ever see a game that includes sports agents?
Kelly Perdew: I DOUBT IT. THE GENERAL PUBLIC PROBABLY ISN’T THAT INTERESTED IN WHETHER AN AGENT WAS ABLE TO NEGOTIATE A BIGGER SIGNING BONUS FOR THEIR CLIENT ATHLETE. JERRY MCGUIRE MAY BE THE PINNACLE OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC’S AWARENESS OF WHAT A SPORTS AGENT DOES. COMPARED TO THE TELEVISED WEEK IN, WEEK OUT PERFORMANCES ON THE FIELD BY THE ATHLETES…A SPORT AGENT JUST DOESN’T REGISTER FOR A FAN. THEREFORE, IT IS HARD TO BUILD A COMPELLING GAME.
Darren Heitner: What would you tell an 18-24 year old who wants to break into the business of sports?
Kelly Perdew: REALLY IT IS NO DIFFERENT THAN OTHER INDUSTRIES - YOU HAVE TO BE PASSIONATE ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE DOING. RESEARCH, NETWORK, PLAN, AND WORK AS HARD AS YOU CAN. YES, LUCK PLAYS A BIG PART OF THE EQUATION, BUT, LIKE THOMAS JEFFERSON SAID, LUCK IS WHERE OPPORTUNITY MEETS PREPARATION. THE BETTER PREPARED YOU ARE, THE MORE LIKELY YOU’LL BE ABLE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE OPPORTUNITIES.
ROTOHOG, FOX SPORTS EN ESPAÑOL AND FOX SPORTS LATIN AMERICA ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP FOR 2009 FANTASY BASEBALL GAME
One of America’s leading media distribution companies to provide official online fantasy baseball platform for one of the world’s preeminent Spanish-language sports portals
LOS ANGELES, CA—(March 19, 2009) RotoHog, the leading fantasy sports platform provider, today announced that it has formed an exclusive partnership with Fox Sports En Español to develop, deliver and operate a Spanish-language Stock Exchange Fantasy game for the 2009 Major League Baseball® season. Fox Sports En Español and Fox Sports Latin America (foxsportsla.msn.com) will make the game available to subscribers across 25 countries in North and South America and the Caribbean, making it one of the most widely distributed fantasy baseball platforms in the world. It also marks the first time that RotoHog’s critically acclaimed Stock Exchange product has been made available in Spanish.
“We are very excited to add Fox Sports En Español and Fox Sports Latin America to the growing list of leading media partners for whom RotoHog is now creating and implementing fantasy sports products,” said Kelly Perdew, CEO of RotoHog. “Fantasy baseball play in the Spanish-language marketplace is growing faster than any other sport in the space, and partnering with one of the world’s premier sports media companies to deliver the highest quality gaming experience to an ardent and loyal fan base is a huge opportunity for us.”
“Our users deserve added value, especially in the fantasy space for baseball, a sport which is followed passionately by US Hispanics,” said Carlos Chaves, Lead Product Manager for foxsportsla.msn.com. “RotoHog is a company with a proven track record of delivering the kind of innovative and exciting gaming experience that we hope will augment visitors’ engagement with our website and brand.”
The 2009 “Liga Fantástica de Béisbol” powered by RotoHog will be launched in mid-March, and will start play with the opening of the Major League Baseball season. The game will also feature RotoHog’s exclusive Sports Market Ticker™, which will allow Fox Sports en Español and Fox Sports Latin America users to access scrolling Stock Exchange player pricing information on their desktops, homepages, social networking websites, and mobile devices.
RotoHog is the leading fantasy sports platform provider, with partners including NBA.com, Turner Digital, Pro Football Weekly, AVP, Fox Espanol, GoDaddy, and LG Electronics. RotoHog is privately held, and based in Los Angeles, CA. Investors include Allen & Co, DFJ DragonFund, Mission Ventures and Sports Capital Partners Worldwide.
For more information on RotoHog, please visit www.RotoHog.com/corporate.
ABOUT FOX SPORTS EN ESPAÑOL
Reaching more than 14 million cable and satellite households in the country, of which over 5 million are U.S. Hispanic Households, Fox Sports en Español is the leader in Spanish-language sports media. We feature premier soccer programming with exclusive coverage of the top leagues and tournaments in Latin America and Europe; coverage of the Major League Baseball regular season, All-Star Game, American League Championship Series and World Series; championship boxing and UFC® and mixed-martial arts across four compelling media platforms. With more than 1,600 hours of live and exclusive programming, a robust web site brimming with streaming video, portable content from FSE Móvil and the Fox Sports en Español Magazine, we are and will continue to be the first name in the U.S. Hispanic sports space.
Fox Sports en Español is distributed by Fox Cable Networks Group and operated by Fox Pan American Sports LLC, an international sports programming and production entity jointly owned by HM Capital Partners, LLC and News Corporation’s (NYSE: NWS) Fox Sports International. For more information, visit Fox Sports en Español online at foxsportsla.msn.com.
ABOUT FOX SPORTS LATIN AMERICA
Fox Sports Latin America is operated by Fox Pan American Sports LLC an international programming and producing sports entity property of HM Capital Parterns LLC and Fox Sports International [which belongs to FOX Entertainment Group (NYSE: FOX) de News Corporation (NYSE: NWS)]. For more information please go to www.foxsportsla.msn.com
©2009 Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. All rights reserved. Major League Baseball trademarks and copyrights are use with permission of the applicable MLB entities. All rights reserved.
March 16, 2009: RotoHog, which operates and develops online fantasy sports games, today will officially launch a Spanish-language version of its “Stock Exchange Fantasy Baseball” for the 2009 MLB season. The effort is being done in alliance with Fox Sports En Español, which will make the game available to subscribers across 25 countries in North and South America and the Caribbean. Although other fantasy games targeting the Hispanic community have been around since 2000, this marks RotoHog’s first entry into the Hispanic fantasy sports market. “Fantasy baseball play in the Spanish-language marketplace is growing faster than any other sport in the space,” said Kelly Perdew, CEO of Los Angeles-based RotoHog. “And partnering with [Fox Sports En Español] to deliver the highest quality gaming experience to an ardent and loyal fan base is a huge opportunity for us.” Fantasy sports is a burgeoning $1.5 billion dollar industry. According to the Fantasy Sports Assn., 29.9 million people 12 and older in the U.S. and Canada participated in fantasy sports in 2007, up from 19.9 million in 2006. The 2009 Fox Español Stock Exchange Fantasy Baseball Game powered by RotoHog features RotoHog’s exclusive “sports market ticker,” which allows users to access scrolling Stock Exchange player pricing information on their desktops, homepages, social networking Web sites and mobile devices. RotoHog is also working on a new fantasy game with the Association of Volleyball Professionals and has deals with NBA.com, Turner Digital, Pro Football Weekly, GoDaddy, LG Electronics.
Great article in The Economist about what makes entrepreneurs successful…and LUCK is one of the factors!
One of America’s leading media distribution companies to create new online fantasy sports platform for one of the world’s most popular sports
Los Angeles, March 10, 2009
RotoHog, one of the fastest-growing and most innovative fantasy sports operators and developers for major brands and professional sports, today announced it has secured an additional $2 million in funding to expand its business platform and develop new technology for its partners. The funding round was led by venture capital groups Mission Ventures and DFJ Dragon (China Fund).
“We have been able to show that even in challenging times the business model we have built for RotoHog is unique to the marketplace and fills a need that major fantasy game providers have…namely building and delivering innovative games and powerful platforms for a growing fan base worldwide,” said CEO Kelly Perdew. “This additional capital gives us the stability to focus on our long-term strategy, which is to be the worldwide leader in the development of fantasy sports games, games that are scalable, have turnkey solutions and will create new revenue streams for our partners, who include some of the biggest names in the industry, from Turner and the NBA to Fox Espanol and the AVP.”
“We have seen considerable traction and are excited about the focused vision of the RotoHog team,” said Leo Spiegel, Managing Partner Mission Ventures. “DFJ Dragon watches the China market and looks for companies that can exploit those opportunities. The market for fantasy in exploding and RotoHog will be a leader,” said Andy Tang, Managing Partner DFJ Dragon.
The additional funding is the latest is a series of successful moves for RotoHog, a brand that has quickly become a leader in the building of infrastructure for partners, ranging from sophisticated stock exchange and commissioner-style games for the NBA and Pro Football Weekly to casual Facebook and MySpace games with GoDaddy.com and others. RotoHog recently announced a new partnership with the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour, and other moves will be announced in the coming weeks.
RotoHog is the leading fantasy sports platform provider, with partners including NBA.com, Turner Digital, Pro Football Weekly, AVP, Fox Espanol, GoDaddy, and LG Electronics. RotoHog is privately held, and based in Los Angeles, CA. Investors include Mission Ventures, DFJ DragonFund, Allen & Co and Sports Capital Partners Worldwide.
For more information on RotoHog please visit www.rotohog.com/corporate.
One of America’s leading media distribution companies to create new online fantasy sports platform for one of the world’s most popular sports
LOS ANGELES, CA—(Marketwire – March 6, 2009) RotoHog, one of the fastest-growing and most innovative fantasy sports operators and developers for major brands and professional sports, today announced that they have formed a partnership with the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour to create an exciting new fantasy game for the sport and its fans. The game will begin at the end of March and run through the end of the AVP season in September, and will allow fans to create their own lineups and follow the statistics of their favorite players through the AVP website, avp.com.
“The AVP is one of those unique sports properties that has everything a fan could want…great male and female athletes, individual and team play, a loyal following, recognition amongst the casual fan and loads of statistics, all of which makes it prime for the fantasy sports world,” said Kelly Perdew, CEO of RotoHog. “We are very excited to be able to build out this first-ever fantasy game for the fans and the athletes, and are looking forward to a long partnership as the game evolves.”
“The AVP is all about the experience, and having a fantasy game will now give our fans an opportunity to experience the thrill of our events in another way, and follow the tour and their favorite athletes even more closely each week,” said Leonard Armato, CEO and Commissioner of the AVP Crocs Tour. “We are very pleased to be able to work with Rotohog in bringing this new digital opportunity to our fans.”
The 2009 AVP Fantasy Challenge powered by RotoHog, will be launched in mid-March, and will give fans the opportunity to follow their favorite players on the AVP Crocs Tour all season. Fans will also be able to sign up at any time, and prizes will be rewarded for short-term contests as well as for the full season. The winners will be those who score the most fantasy points based on AVP player statistics such as aces, blocks, digs and hitting percentage. In addition to the game’s presence on the Tour’s official website avp.com, it will be promoted onsite, online and in AVP broadcasts.
RotoHog is the leading fantasy sports platform provider, with partners NBA.com, Turner Digital, Pro Football Weekly, AVP, Fox Espanol, GoDaddy, and LG Electronics. RotoHog is privately held, and based in Los Angeles, CA. Investors include Allen & Co, DFJ DragonFund, Mission Ventures and Sports Capital Partners Worldwide.
For more information on RotoHog, or to sign up for league play, please visit www.rotohog.com/corporate
I was asked to deliver the keynote for UCLA’s Entrepreneurship Week. It was a lot of fun and some great questions from the entrepreneurs in the crowd!
What really turns you on? Think about it … what would cause you to jump out of bed every morning with a fire in your belly instead of dreading that train ride into “work?”
What would you do if you could do anything in the world? Now, get ready for this question…Why aren’t you doing it?
You can always come up with hundreds of reasons for not doing something. I challenge you to focus on the reasons you can do it. A lot people know that I’m a big planner. You need to have a plan. Planning may sound like the opposite of passion, but the reality is the most successful and happy people are actually able to combine the two! Lay out a plan that will enable you to get to a place where you can have passion for living. That should be your ultimate goal!
I’ve spoken in front of thousands of people from all walks of life. And I’ve asked them how they would know what they were really passionate about. There are always some common answers:
· It is something I would do if I had $10 million!
· It is something that I would not think of as work!
· It is that thing I’m doing when I lose track of time!
How do you know you’re really passionate about something? One clear indicator is your attitude. Your attitude is contagious. It infects those people around you in both your personal and business life. If you’re upbeat, excited and energized about a project, then that message will come through loud and clear. Whether it is your co-workers, boss, friends or family, they will pick up on your passion. Conversely, if you’re unsure, slow and not really into it, then that will be the message people get. That passion, will infect the people around you. The people that support you at home and people on your team at work. If they are as excited as you are, then they’ll work that much harder. So, if you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you’re much more likely to succeed at whatever you’re doing.
What makes you passionate? How do you define success? I think the most important part of those questions is YOU. Too many people spend their time trying to do what makes someone else happy. I urge you to figure it out for yourself and don’t let others define it for you. A lot of people allow others to set their goals for them. Do not let someone else define success for you. If you want to be a high school basketball coach and know that is something you’ll be passionate about, then go for it. If you really do want to be a real estate mogul and think that will make you happy, that should be your objective. However, your ideal job should drive you and keep you excited. Not because your mom or dad or neighbors think it is “success.” Remember, you’re the one that has to live your life — nobody else does.
I am an entrepreneur at heart and love starting and growing companies. Throughout my career, I’ve usually been able to help grow and develop one or two companies at a time as an operator. It has been incredibly rewarding. With RotoHog, I’m marrying up two of my passions – Fantasy Sports and Growing Companies! Talk about exciting! That is something that gets me out of bed every morning.
During my last year working with Donald Trump, a class of middle school students visited Trump Tower on a field trip and Donald agreed to come down and meet with them and asked me to come down as well. They asked us all sorts of questions, but one that I remember very well was, “Donald, what would you do for work if you didn’t do real estate?” And Donald answered, “I don’t consider what I do to be work. I love putting together deals and building buildings!” What a great answer! Can you say that about what you do? Donald only sleeps a few hours every night and doesn’t drink, smoke, or gamble. He loves his work. It is his passion.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m also a realist and understand that there are going to be times in our careers and life when we don’t get to do everything we want. It may feel like a “dead-end” job or you may see the writing on the wall and understand that you just don’t want to be a part of your current company anymore. What do you do about it? How do you handle that? What’s your attitude?
I recommend you take advantage of that situation to create better opportunities for your future. Do not sit around and mope. Do not have a bad attitude. Take that opportunity to teach yourself some new skills. Even if it is something simple like learning Excel and Power Point or attending trade association meetings in your desired industry, do something that will further your ultimate objective. Once you’ve figured out your long-term plan, it will be easy to determine what activities will help you the most in the future. Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself. Develop your plan with the objective of living that passionate life and start executing on that plan. Before you know it, you’ll be living that passionate life.
Wow, hard to believe that was December of 2004 when I won Season 2. My year working with Donald in New York was great and I learned a lot. Now I’m running RotoHog, a fantasy sports gaming company and we build fantasy sports games for companies like NBA, Turner Digital, Pro Football Weekly, AVP, and Fox Espanol.
The Celebrity version is definitely a different type of show. It is fun to watch, but any sense of the results of the task and/or the Boardroom really impacting the individual contestants is missing. I think it is great that they are supporting charities and it is fun to watch the various stars try to lead their teams through the tasks. I wonder if they are ever going to be bring back the “old” version of the show?
Do you think they should?