Fantasy Sports Pro
One of the fastest-growing hobbies in the sports world is the widespread formations of Fantasy Sports Leagues. In case you’ve been locked in the proverbial closet for the past 10 years, you may wonder just what fantasy sports are all about. A fantasy sports league is formed by a group of anywhere from two to 30 "owners" who conduct a draft of existing real-life players that will form the owner’s "fantasy" team. Over a fantasy season, games are scheduled between teams, scores are determined by actual statistics of players on a fantasy team, and standings are kept throughout the season with the goal of finishing the season as the champion. Sound easy? Not so fast. As an owner/general manager/coach of your team, it is your job to pick starters, make trades, acquire free agents, etc. In a nutshell, you are playing the role of a real NBA, NFL, NHL, or MLB team owner.
Sierra Sports’ Fantasy Sports Pro is a program that is designed to help fantasy league commissioners (those who compile all the statistics for their fantasy league) manage their leagues. From keeping simple schedules, standings, and box scores to more complex automatic statistic tracking, mailing lists, and web page publishing tools (only available for fantasy football), Fantasy Sports Pro can be a huge help.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
"Huge" may seem like an understatement to anyone who has actually operated a fantasy league or two. Speaking from experience, I know countless hours per week are dedicated to compiling weekly stats, schedules, and standings; and you must still try to keep track of what is going on with your own team. Fantasy Sports Pro actually consists of four different programs in one: , , , and . All four programs are separate installs; however, they all pretty much work the same way, so learning one means you’ve learned all four. In fact, they're so much the same that the manual only describes Terry Bradshaw Fantasy Football.
Almost every fantasy league is different. Different rules, scoring systems, lineup requirements, etc. all make it very difficult for a software developer to design a fantasy sports program and stats compiler with the flexibility to accommodate all the special league rules established by different leagues. Fantasy Sports Pro pulls this off quite admirably. Just about everything can be configured to accommodate your existing rules and scoring system. This is the greatest strength of the program. You can configure multiple divisions, player positions, and number of points for various plays; tiebreakers will automatically be utilized; the program will even keep track of dues and transaction fees if necessary.
I did have some problems setting up my fantasy basketball league. For example, the Fantasy Sports Pro schedule generator would not allow the option to play division teams more often than non-division teams. However, this could be manually overridden. The other problem I had was setting up backup players. Some fantasy leagues (especially basketball) allow each team to submit a backup for a particular position in case the starter didn’t play. I couldn’t find a way to make this work automatically.
Fantasy Sports Pro's usefulness begins on draft day. As teams draft their players, FSP will organized the drafted players into rosters. Each week, it will track the starting lineups for each team and allow you to fax or email a pre-game lineup to all the owners. Injury reserve and trades are no problem to keep track of. The program will generate a schedule, keep track of weekly standings and box scores, and will also spawn playoff brackets at the end of the regular season. All this info can be published directly to a web site, but only for users of Terry Bradshaw Fantasy Football.
Stats can be manually entered into the program on a weekly basis, or you can subscribe to Fantasy Sports Properties’ statistic import service to have all the stats entered with a click of the mouse button over the Internet or BBS. This service is what the program is really designed to utilize; however, you must subscribe to the service in order to use it. Subscription rates are $79.95 per year. This fee includes downloading stats for all four of the fantasy sports it covers. For example, if you use FSP for fantasy basketball and baseball, you will only need to pay $79.95 once per year. This is not so bad if you can convince the owners to spread the costs.
486 processor, 4 MB RAM, 2X CD-ROM drive, 40 MB free hard drive space, SVGA 640x480/256 color video. A modem is required for Internet/BBS support. The CD contains both Windows 95 and DOS versions.
Fantasy Sports Pro is aimed at a very small group of prospective buyers: Fantasy League Commissioners. If you run a league and are unsure whether this program will help you with your fantasy league, there are one-week full working demos available from Sierra Sports that will allow you to make that determination. This program will take the tedious work away from commissioners and stat compilers, and leave more time for you to manage your own team all the way to the championship.