How Fantasy Cricket started from a cocktail napkin

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Fantasy sports, more prominently fantasy cricket is now a household affair in many countries including India but not many know the where or how it all started. Read to find out.

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How Fantasy Cricket started from a cocktail napkin “I feel the way J. Robert Oppenheimer felt after having invented the atomic bomb: If Id only known this plague that Ive visited upon the world...." – Dan Okrent Founding Father of Rotisserie Baseball Fantasy gaming is indeed a plague in the world now capturing the popular imaginations. Since this game includes an expansive demography ranging from the youths in their early 20s to people over 40s both male and female- so fantasy sporting industry is now a booming business all over the world. Not to mention India as a developing nation is not lagging much behind the global trend and being a nation solely devoted to cricket fantasy cricket is a household affair in this nation. Statistics show that the number of users who register and play fantasy cricket on various sites has been recorded to be no less than 20 million on March 2018. The number has been growing ever since. However in contrast to the popularity of the game not many might know the face behind this revolutionary gaming idea. Dan Okrent is the father of the modern day fantasy gaming. He is the founding father of ‘Rotisserie Baseball’ which is the prototype of current fantasy sporting. Before we get

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further into how he came up with this path breaking idea let us first understand how Rotisserie Baseball works. In rotisserie scoring the real-life statistics accumulated by the players on a team are aggregated and ranked against the same statistics for the other teams in the league. Fantasy points are earned based on these rankings. For example in a twelve-team league the team with the most rebounds over the course of the season to date would be awarded twelve fantasy points. The team with the next-highest number of rebounds would be awarded eleven fantasy points and so on with the team with the fewest rebounds being awarded a single fantasy point. For negative categories like fouls or turnovers the team with the fewest statistics is awarded the most fantasy points. This is done for all categories counted by the particular league. The team with the highest number of fantasy points at the end of the season is the winner. Modern fantasy sports also works in the same way. Consider Fantasy cricket all the users need to do is to form their own team of 11 and watch the team members play the match in real life. Scores would given according to the real life performance of the players. The user would get plus credits if his selected player plays well in the match and no points if his player doesn’t play or perform lower than expected. The match rules being such the roots of the modern day fantasy gaming can be dated to a time 25 years back. It is famed that Daniel Okrent- a now well-renowned sportswriter- invented the rules to Rotisserie baseball on the back of a cocktail napkin on a long cross-country flight. The inaugural season of Rotisserie baseball began on the first Sunday after the Opening Day of the 1980 National League. The games namesake was La Rotisserie Francaise a locals hangout in New York frequented by Okrent. The first group of team owners were entirely composed of writers and publishers thereby word of the league spread quickly via the use of literary pulpits. Rotisserie baseball was low on the public radar until the mid-1990’s when leagues began to branch out into football basketball and other sports. The Internet boom of the late 1990s created a revolution in the game. Enabling gamers to easily compute stats and monitor their teams brought Rotisserie baseball into the fantasy sports industry that we know today. So next time you log into a fantasy site remember it started from a cocktail napkin. Ideas can come from anywhere. Just keep your spirit up

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