The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
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Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
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OneSeason raises the stakes

A blend of fantasy sports, trading cards, and market dynamics

The economy might still be slumping, but the only thing that sports fans are worrying about is how they’re going to gather enough money to buy tickets to their favorite team’s next game.

The solution might be found in the newest fantasy sports game created by SMU alumnus Michael Sroka. Most fantasy sports games are focused on individual sports, but Sroka’s version incorporates players from all sports that can be bought and sold at anytime throughout the season, hence the name, OneSeason.

OneSeason is unlike other fantasy sports games, in that actual money is used to buy and sell virtual shares of sports players. A player’s worth, and thus the shares’ worth, is based on several factors. Traders keep their virtual sports players’ shares in a portfolio, fittingly named a “sportfolio”.

“These shares trade in a free market system based on supply and demand,” Sroka said. “This quantifies all potential inputs to public perception, including on-field performance, off-field activity, legacy prospects, who Tom Brady is dating, etc.”

Although the company, which was launched to the public on Oct. 1, 2008, is still young, it has already acquired a modest customer base. Sroka estimates that several tens of thousands of users have registered online and are already buying and selling virtual shares.

“We hope to create something that is compelling to a broad audience and is fun for lots of people,” Sroka said.

Sroka originally came up with the idea of OneSeason in high school while he was in his economics class in 1998. He was given the opportunity to pursue his idea after he graduated from SMU in 2003 and went to work for a hedge fund. The CEO of the hedge fund, who had his own experience with venture-backed start-ups, approved of Sroka’s idea and provided him with some capital to start working on a business plan in 2006.

OneSeason’s co-founder, DJ Burdick, joined the company as the CTO in 2006 and brought his own development team with him. Once the company received angel financing, it moved out to San Francisco and launched in October. The company is currently being funded by Charles River Ventures.

“We like to think of OneSeason as the modernization of traditional collectible cards, a more dynamic fantasy sports and a fun way to learn about market dynamics,” Sroka said. “It is a text-based social gaming platform for sports fans.”

Several prominent publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune and The Times Magazine, have discussed OneSeason and followed several of the game’s top traders. The Times magazine recently interviewed Megan McBride, one of the most successful traders playing OneSeason.

McBride started playing the day OneSeason launched and invested $200 at the start. She bought shares in players such as Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees), Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers), and Eli Manning (New York Giants). Within two weeks, McBride’s “sportfolio” was worth about $3,600.

Not everyone will experience success like McBride’s, but several major publications have written their praise for OneSeason. An article in the NYT states OneSeason as an “ironically appropriate Web startup for today’s calamitous economic times”.

Sports fans that obsess over their fantasy team can now have something tangible to show for their knowledge and love of the game. Sroka is counting on the passion of fans to build OneSeason into something even larger.

“It has been largely viral growth thus far, although we have some different online marketing channels and continue to run Facebook ads,” he said. “Sports fans are such a large, vocal group, we think that if we can create a great product/service then folks will find it.”

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