UI grads revolutionize online sports world with Draftday.com

At one point or another, everyone has heard the advice that if you love your job, you will never work another day in your life. For University alumni Taylor Caby and Andrew Wiggins, their love of fantasy sports has translated into a full-time job.

Caby, who graduated in 2006, and Wiggins, who graduated in 2007, are the co-founders of Draftday.com, a daily fantasy sports website. While both Caby and Wiggins graduated from the College of Business, neither has chosen a traditional business career.

After meeting while undergraduates at the University, Caby and Wiggins began the online poker site Cardrunners.com. About a year and a half ago, Caby and Wiggins decided to seriously think about attempting a shared goal — starting a fantasy sports website.

“I’ve been a huge fantasy sports fan/addict for a long time,” Wiggins said. “I started playing at U of I when I was a freshman in the dorms. We realized there was a business opportunity out there to make a site that can draft games on a more regular basis.”

Now, three weeks after their website launched, business is quickly growing.

“Over 3,000 people signed up in the past three weeks without a whole lot of advertising or marketing,” Caby said. “The best thing for us has been word of mouth. We’re pretty hopeful it will continue to grow.”

Though many fantasy sports websites are available, what sets Draftday apart is that it is a daily game.

“Traditionally, you play a fantasy sports game over an entire season,” said Caby. “You draft a team at the beginning of the season, and you manage that team for the whole football or baseball season.”

On Draftday, however, on any given day you can log on, draft a team and, for that day only, compete against other people on the site for money or fun.

Right now, Draftday offers only fantasy NFL games, but will be introducing NHL games within the next few weeks.

“Eventually we want to include any sport you can think of,” said Caby.

Wiggins knows they have found a special niche in creating a daily fantasy sports website because it appeals to a wide range of people.

“It’s not just people who are fantasy junkies,” he said. “The reason it works really well is that, in daily fantasy, your commitment is only for that day, and it doesn’t take that long. For people who like fantasy but don’t have the time to manage a team for a whole season, it’s great.”

Fantasy sports typically appeal to males from age 18 to 30. Zach Frey,senior in Business and fantasy sports player, falls into this category.

Frey became involved in fantasy football four years ago as a senior in high school and continues to play today with both friends from high school and friends he has met from his fraternity on campus.

“It’s a great way for a group of friends or a group of people to connect, and it brings people closer together,” he said. “It’s a good way to compete for a lot of us who don’t play athletic sports anymore.”

Frey watches ESPN on a daily basis to get information for his fantasy teams, as well as using his general knowledge of sports.

Caby and Wiggins hope that the passion from fantasy sports fans like Frey will continue to help the growth of their website.

While their site has come with its challenges — like creating a good product while maintaining a budget and sticking to a timeline — in the end, the co-founders say it’s worth it.

“My favorite part is the freedom to make my own decisions and to do what I think as opposed to what somebody else has told me to do,” Caby said. “It has given me the motivation to work my hardest because, at the end of the day, I’m either successful or I’m not based on my decisions.”

For Wiggins, the best part might be even simpler.

“If there’s a game on I want to watch, I get to call it work,” he said.