Monday, August 11, 2014

Bounty Hunters Out As Fantasy Tilts Into New Era

In the world of money collection there have been a few exceptional talents. Among them, Rocky Balboa, Chili Palmer and that roundish guy from Rounders. Not surprisingly, they all packed a punch, and a few pounds.

The ultimate pound of flesh guy was Shakespeare's Shylock, of course, but it's way too early in the football calendar to get literary. Let's save that for when the Raiders and Dolphins meet in London Town.

Now you could employ one of the aforementioned goons to collect your fantasy football payments, but it’d probably come at a premium and who knows if you’d come away without a black eye for your trouble. Alternatively, there's a more roguish figure like Boba Fett, who always seemed efficiently cool, but you know, I think that weird salivating sandpit in Return Of The Jedi may have digested him by now.

Meanwhile, there's a company by the name of Tilt that's based in San Francisco and formerly known as Crowdtilt, which has moved into this arena  the seemingly untapped market of fantasy football fee collection.

The premise of its new offering is that collecting league entry fees can be a hassle, and while I've never had to do it, I've certainly sensed the agitation it's caused league managers when asked for "just two more days...please...I'll pay you double....whatever you want."

Who knew fantasy commissioners wielded the power of Don Corleone?

Using Tilt, which has partnered with sports media giant ESPN in this endeavor, league commissioners log in through Facebook, and can set payments and the number of teams involved before any prize money is made available. 

The company charges 95c fee for each team using a debit card and an additional 2.9% processing charge if the payment is made by credit card. This is a one time fee, it should be noted. Commissioners can also communicate with team owners in their league through the Tilt system and customize payouts as required.

The partnership with Disney-owned ESPN is a strong turn for Tilt, something in the realm of Colin Kaepernick looping a long ball to Vernon Davis. This is a joint score, however, because Tilt's technology will provide ESPN and its fantasy players with an easy to use and secure payment set-up, which was previously lacking. On the other side, ESPN's brand clout presumably appealed to Tilt.

Tilt started in 2012 as a firm that helps people crowdfund, raise or pool money. Last year it shortened its name to Tilt with the aim of broadening its vision to include the idea of something tipping or tilting behind a critical mass. In this vein, moving into fantasy football is a clever step.

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