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Play Ball!

There are a few times when my love of entrepreneurship overlaps with my love of sports.  Here are a couple of those stories.

I first met the founder of Dugout Central when it was called BaseLine Report.  The idea was to creat a baseball-specific community oriented around highly detailed content that would appeal to the rapid, stats-oriented fan.  The founder was working with former Yankee Mike Pagliarulo.  As a Yankee fan, I was intrigued.  However, I had big concerns about how big you could build such a specialized community.  And, it wasn't clear how you could make money from such a community.  i suggested to the founder that he try to bootstrap the company before he raised VC funding.  They had some deals to syndicate some of the scouting content that Pags was generating.  I thought they could use this revenue to get the site started.

Although the founder didn't really want to hear this, that's what they ended up doing.  In fact, by coincidence, they hired another friend of mine to design their site in exchange for equity.  Luckily, my friend had outside consulting income which gave him the flexibility to design the Dugout Central site in his spare time.  And, as a baseball nut, he was motivated to work on this.

Now, they seem to be building some traffic, have an interesting site, and are in business.  I am still not sure of the revenue model, but, like many web sites, starting off on a shoe string is the way to go.

Although I don't have the same type of connection to this one, I've also met the founders of Fancaster.  This is an interesting marriage of YouTube and play-by-play.  Users generate live play-by-play accounts of games that they are watching.  Other people can listen in while they watch the same game.  I think that there are some potential legal issues here, but I also see the potential for some budding broadcasters to make a name for themselves.  I wish them well.

As baseball season is about to begin, hope springs eternal.  My Yankees have made some moves to get younger, but probably not enough for my taste.  I don't expect them to win this year, but I hope they are building a good young foundation for the future.


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