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Tuesday, September 20, 2021

If fantasy football, baseball et al just isn’t a compulsive enough way for you get your sports swerve on, take heart: ProTrade is a high-profile virtual stock exchange game which converts professional atheletes’ performances into quantifiable share for wheeling and dealing.

As seems to be the case with most statistical dealings in sports these days, we can thank “Moneyball” for shepherding this along:

In this bottom-line approach to sports, teams are known as investment portfolios and the real-life athletes get their own ticker symbols. Manning’s symbol is PMANN.

“It’s going to take fans to a whole new level of fantasy,” predicts Bill Walsh, the former San Francisco 49ers coach and a member of ProTrade’s advisory board.

ProTrade initially will be confined to trading NFL players, but the San Mateo-based company expects to add the NBA and major league baseball after working out licensing agreements.

“Our mission is to change the way people think about sports,” said Mike Kerns, a ProTrade co-founder and former understudy to venture capitalists and sports agents.

The endeavor drew its inspiration from the 2003 Michael Lewis best seller Moneyball, which dissects the statistical analysis Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane used to obtain players he considered undervalued by the rest of the baseball market.

To me, this is the next step in fantasizing the sports experience. Despite the hype about how much a player’s team performance drives ProTrade’s gameplay, in truth, the focus here divorces the athlete from the game even more than conventional roto leagues. Much like a real stock/commodity market, it’s driven by popular perceptions more than anything else.

Actually, ProTrade brings to mind the other recent forays into unusual (and often misery-based) futures speculation: The Terror Futures Index, the Hurricane Futures Market, and the Foresight Exchange.

It seems we’re so much of a gambling culture that we’ll not only wager on anything, but even on the components of anything.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 09/20/2005 11:37:06 PM
Category: Tech, Sports, Business | Permalink |

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