Fantasy Sports Trade Association

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Fantasy Sports Trade Association
FSTA-Logo.png
Official logo
Abbreviation FSTA
Legal status
Trade Association
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois
Region served
International
Membership 180
Executive Director
Megan Van Petten
Staff 1
Volunteers 15
Website http://www.fsta.org

The Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) is the largest and oldest trade group representing the fantasy sports industry with over 180 members, ranging from small startups to large media corporations. As the voice of the industry since 1997, the FSTA has been the leader[citation needed] in providing demographic data, annual conferences and collective action to ensure unfettered growth.

Demographic Data[edit]

It's estimated by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association that 42 million people age 12 and above in the U.S. and Canada played fantasy sports in 2014. Participation has grown over the years, though USA participation for 2014 is consistent with the past few readings. However, participation is up in Canada mostly due to Hockey

A prior study conducted by the FSTA in 2013, showed 33.5 million people age 12 and above in the U.S. with the 2011 FSTA Study showing 3.1 million people in Canada played fantasy sports. Fantasy Sports is estimated to have a $3–$4 Billion annual economic impact across the sports industry.[2] Participation has grown over 60 percent the past four years with 19 percent of males in the U.S. playing fantasy sports. That figure is up significantly from a 2006 FSTA study that estimated 19.4 million people age 12 and above in the U.S. and Canada played fantasy sports and 34.5 million people ever played fantasy sports.[1] A 2006 study showed 22 percent of U.S. adult males 18 to 49 years old, with Internet access, play fantasy sports. Fantasy Sports is estimated to have a $3–$4 billion annual economic impact across the sports industry.[2]

The FSTA was the first organization to compile demographic surveys of the fantasy sports market starting in 1999. The first survey showed 29.6 million people age 18 and older play fantasy games, but that figure was reduced in later years when it was determined the survey also included people who play NCAA bracket pools, which are not exactly fantasy sports (where you pick individual players).[3]

Conferences[edit]

The FSTA holds two annual conferences each year; a summer conference, and a winter conference. These conferences have become the center of the industry with all major companies in attendance.

Legal issues[edit]

The FSTA has been at the forefront of the tension that has existed between fantasy sports companies and professional leagues and players associations over the rights to player profiles and statistics. The issue came to a head with the lawsuit of Major League Baseball Advanced Media, MLB's Internet wing, vs. St. Louis-based CBC Distribution and Marketing Inc., the parent company of CDM Sports. When CBC was denied a new licensing agreement with MLBAM (they had acquired the rights from the baseball players' association ) for its fantasy baseball game, CBC filed suit.

The FSTA filed a friend of the court brief in support of CBC arguing that intellectual property laws and so-called "right of publicity" laws do not apply to the statistics used in fantasy sports.[4] The FSTA also argued that if MLBAM won the lawsuit it would have a dramatic impact on the industry, which was largely ignored by the major sports leagues for years while a number of smaller entrepreneurs grew it into a multi-billion dollar industry, and a ruling could allow the MLBAM to have a monopoly over the industry.

"This will be a defining moment in the fantasy sports industry," said Charlie Wiegert, executive vice president of CBC. "The other leagues are all watching this case. If MLB prevailed, it just would have been a matter of time before they followed up. Their player unions are just waiting for the opportunity."[5]

CBC won the lawsuit as U.S. District Court Judge Mary Ann Medler ruled that statistics are part of the public domain and can be used at no cost by fantasy companies.

"The names and playing records of major-league baseball players as used in CBC's fantasy games are not copyrightable," Medler wrote. "Therefore, federal copyright law does not pre-empt the players' claimed right of publicity."[6]

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision in October 2007. "It would be strange law that a person would not have a First Amendment right to use information that is available to everyone," a three-judge panel said in its ruling.[7]

History[edit]

In 1997, CDM Fantasy Sports invited competitors Sportsline, Prime Sports Interactive, Sports Buff Fantasy Sports, and Sporting News to St. Louis to discuss pending legislation that could severely limit the growth of the fantasy sports industry. Over the next year, the companies communicated without an official organization and tracked the legislation. In 1998, during a fantasy sports conference in Las Vegas hosted by Fantasy Insights, a meeting was organized to again discuss pending legislation and several other topics related to the industry. The representatives from CDM, Fantasy Insights, EA Sports, The Sporting News, and USFANS decided that it was time to create an official organization to help promote fantasy sports and the Fantasy Sports Trade Association was born.[8] Carl Foster was president from 1999 to 2002. Greg Ambrosius was president from 2003 to 2006. Jeff Thomas was the president from 2006-2008. Paul Charchian is the current president.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Fantasy Sports Conference Demographic Survey Shows Continued Growth". PR Web. 2007-08-02. Retrieved 2007-10-09. 
  2. ^ Dorman, Stephen (2006-08-03). "The fantasy football phenomenon". Agoura Hills Acorn. Retrieved 2007-07-27. 
  3. ^ Zillgitt, Jeff (2000-02-28). "We certainly live in a fantasy world". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 
  4. ^ "Fantasy leagues permitted to use MLB names, stats". ESPN. 2006-08-08. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 
  5. ^ McCarthy, Michael (8 September 2006). "Fantasy leagues can use baseball stats". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 
  6. ^ "Fantasy leagues permitted to use MLB names, stats". ESPN. 2006-08-08. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 
  7. ^ "Fantasy Sports Win Right to Player Names, Statistics". Bloomberg. 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 
  8. ^ "FSTA History". FSTA.org. Retrieved 2007-07-27. 

External links[edit]