The book Moneyball by Micheal Lewis (one of my favorites) analyzed sabermetrics and acted as an inspiration to Mike Kerns and Jeffery Ma in releasing a new website today called ProTrade. ProTrade offers a new way to play fantasy sports. ProTrade will treat professional athletes like stocks in a fantasy stock market game. The value of these players is influenced by the players performance on the playing field. So think of these athletes as investments and at the end of a season the trader with the best portfolio wins and is rewarded win a prize jackpot. This idea is very similar to BlogShares in the blogosphere but is going after a larger sport enthusiast demographic.
There are so many useless statistics in sports that carry too much weight and there are other stats that carry little weight but are so valuable. For example in baseball, the point of the game is to score the most runs. So why isn't runs scored one of the main stats used in baseball? Furthermore, you are more likely to score runs if you get on base, so why isn't on-base percentage the most heavily publicized and used stat in baseball? Therefore, I think this product will help bring the more important stats to light. Based on the success of fantasy sports games, I think this will be a successful and profitable endeavor.
What is ProTrade's business model? It appears that since registration and portfolio creation is free ProTrade plans to generate revenue from advertisements as well as 2 to 3 percent commissions on jackpots set up on league play.
ProTrade has some pretty decent backing with investors like former sports agent Jeff Moorad and Arizona Diamondback general partner and Kevin Compton a Silicon venture capitalist who is the principle owner of the NHL San Jose Sharks. One other interesting fact in about ProTrade in closing is that co-founder Jeffery Ma was one of the infamous MIT blackjack card counting students that took so many casinos that they were banned and inspired the best-selling book "Bringing Down The House." So just a suggestion, you might not want to invite Jeff to your next casino night at your place.
Currently, ProTrade is only offered for NFL players but other leagues are soon to follow. To find out more about ProTrade check out these blog posts by Kevin Glennon, Mike Trader and The New Economy. Also co-founder Jeff Ma has a blog of his own here. Also check out the ProTrade Manifesto since it spells out 8 reasons why ProTrade will revolutionize sports.