The Fantasy Sports Trade Association announced Friday that Rob Phythian has been elected to the Fantasy Sports Hall of Fame.
Phythian is CEO of SportsData, LLC, a sports content provider he co-founded that powers fantasy applications with stats, editorial content and images.
Phythian’s work in the fantasy sports industry dates back to the early 1990s when he was co-founder of Fanball. The company's debut product, Fantasy Football Weekly, was the first weekly fantasy sports magazine and grew to a circulation of over 500,000.
In the late 90s, Fanball.com was born and Phythian helped turn it into the largest pure play fantasy sports destination website on the Internet at the time. Key to its growth were partnerships with Turner Sports and AOL. Fanball also powered fantasy games for NASCAR.com and PGATour.com into the mid-2000s and expanded to four offices in the U.S. and London.
“Rob is a deserving entrant to the Fantasy Sports Hall of Fame,” said FSTA president and fellow Hall of Famer Paul Charchian, who worked with Phythian for 14 years. “Going all the way back to 1993, Rob was a driving force behind building the fantasy sports industry. His vision and early understanding of the fantasy consumer was instrumental to building one of the industry's first companies.”
In 2005, Fanball was sold to FUN Technologies and Phythian became president of FUN’s sports division.
Prior to SportsData, Phythian was president of OPEN Sports, a company that developed unique fantasy sports applications and, in 2008, became Fox Sports’ exclusive provider of games for FOXSports.com.
Phythian becomes the 18th member of the Fantasy Sports Hall of Fame joining previous honorees Greg Ambrosius, John Benson, Matthew Berry, Charchian, Cliff Charpentier, Glenn Colton, John Dewan, John Hunt, Bill James, Daniel Okrent, Peter Pezaris, Peter Schoenke, Ron Shandler, Glen Waggoner, Charlie Wiegert, Bill Winkenbach and Rick Wolf. You can read more about the contributions of these Hall of Famers here. Induction ceremonies will take place at the FSTA Summer Conference sponsored by Optimal Payments in San Francisco on June 18. Click here to register for the conference, which is being held at the San Francisco Marriott Union Square. An agenda can be found here if you’d like to learn more about this gathering of the best and brightest in the fantasy sports industry. Please address questions or media requests to FSTA Association Director Megan Van Petten at email@example.com.