OneSeason, the stock market for sports that lets users invest real money into their favorite athletes, has closed a $3.5 million Series A funding round led by Charles River Ventures. To coincide with the funding, OneSeason has also announced that CRV’s George Zachary will join the company’s Board of Directors. Hot or Not founder James Hong and 49er superstar Ronnie Lott will also be joining the company’s Advisory Board.
The site mimics traditional stock markets, substituting famous athletes in place of large companies (they even have their own ticker symbols; KING, currently the top-trading stock, stands for LeBron James). Users can purchase ‘Synthetic Ownership Interests’ in each player, which rise in value depending on their demand. Since launching in October the site has traded over one million of these SOIs.
The site could be very appealing to sports fanatics looking to convert their fantasy sports skills into real cash, but as we wrote when the site launched, it’s a system that seems ripe for abuse. Because you aren’t actually buying any real asset and there isn’t any official regulation, users could potentially team up with friends to ‘pump and dump’ a stock. To combat this OneSeason has a dedicated team of staffers looking to curb abuse and an automated fraud detection engine, but I’d still be wary of investing large sums of cash in this still-nascent market. That said, if the site can prove the legitimacy of the market it could gain a massive following – predictions are always more fun when there’s some risk involved.
Thanks to Scott Harper for the tip.