Matthew Berry Game Changer Awarded To World Championship Of Fantasy Football


Winning the inaugural Matthew Berry Game Changer Award earned the World Championship of Fantasy Football (WCOFF) a check for $200,000, the Crystal Trophy and a piece of sports tech history. With the NFL 2018 season and training camp less than a month away, the 2018 Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) Conference was hosted in Minneapolis by U.S. Bank Stadium, home of last season’s Super Bowl LII won by the Philadelphia Eagles. If you play or want to play fantasy football, either traditional or daily, Berry is the ESPN go-to guy for expert insight as their Senior Fantasy Analyst. Congratulations to Berry for the naming of this award in his name and to the WCOFF founders and players for pioneering the space.

This award was presented to the World Championships of Fantasy Football and their founders, Emil Kadlec and Lenny Pappano by Matthew Berry at the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Summer Conference, June 20, 2018

MBGC Award

This first year award is a mixture of moments, businesses and innovators responsible for laying the groundwork for the 60 million American players now involved on a yearly basis resulting in a multi-billion dollar industry we love to play for fun, competition and money, rewards and prestige, with family, friends, coworkers and complete strangers.

“I’m proud to award the inaugural Matthew Berry Game Changer Award to the World Championship of Fantasy Football,” said Berry. “For many years, fantasy football had been played with the same format and rules. Emil Kadlec and Lenny Pappano created The World Championship of Fantasy Football and brought a lot of new ideas and concepts to the game.”

Barry has seen the evolution of the fantasy sports gameplay noting the introduction of technologies such as the shift to online play and the use of live scoring, both awesome upgrades. I would add the ability to customize rules as another innovative tech induced upgrade especially with regards to drafting, free agency, injuries and scoring.

On Twitter he has just about 1 million social media followers including our community and me. He also tweets on a daily basis.

Barry’s voice, persona and experience make him the John Madden of Fantasy Football. Yes, I said that.

His pioneering work on television and now podcasting are some of the reasons why fantasy sports have crossed over to the mainstream. Barry creates revealing articles and popular videos about industry trends. He even wrote a New York Times Best Seller, Fantasy Life.

Berry has also mentored several well-known fantasy analysts along their career path before they impacted the trade.

As a result, Berry is a well-deserved member of both the Fantasy Sports Hall of Fame and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame.

Along the way came the WCOFF.


More than 200 public nominations were entered for the MBGC award. Berry whittled it down to the winner, the WCOFF, launched in 2003.

The WCOFF was the first high-stakes league that brought together thousands of fantasy sports participants at a single event to play against each other until only one team remained on top.

The success of the WCOFF helped to radically shift the industry earning acknowledgements and the prestigious award from Berry.

Their pioneering scoring system housed the data of an unlimited number of players before cloud hosting became the standard.

Validation of the industry happened as a result of the WCOFF in many ways. What was once accomplished on paper had become completely digital allowing the industry to evolve quickly. Along came competitors and fellow innovators resulting in exciting new platforms and verticals like eSports.

ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo, and the likes are popular platforms using a combination of websites and apps for traditional fantasy sports management. The early years for these companies were full of issues before they ironed them out much like the WCOFF today is not the same as it was all those years ago when they stepped forward with a new concept that needed tweaking.

FanDuel and DraftKings are now dominating daily fantasy with technology, visions and plans to include gambling depending on your state laws after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing states the right to decide whether to legalize sport wagering.

Look for new forms of fantasy football and sports betting to come from this new opportunity.

“Receiving the Game Changer Award is a great honor and I am very humbled,” said Kadlec. “The World Championship of Fantasy Football was a once-in-a-lifetime idea that created a new industry and was all about the people.”

The notion that fantasy football players would pay $1,000 to attend the first WCOFF fifteen years ago making this more than a hobby and truly a lifestyle choice.

The real-time aspect of live fantasy football was born thanks to the WCOFF.

Sports Techie, when you win a fantasy sports league or contest, the prizes are a feather in your cap because the fact that you won is such a unique feeling it’s worth trying to obtain again and again. Just like winning a good chuck of change never hurts either.

The growth of the industry has now crossed over into just about any sport you can think of including gaming.

Today, there are over 150 FSTA members since its inception in 1988. From large media companies to smaller startups, the industry is provided with demographic data, annual conferences and collective action by the FSTA.

Whether it was a company that brought live scoring to the forefront, a site that was built around just mock drafting, or a fantasy player who organized a super-league with hundreds of players and experts, the MBGC award recognizes these moments, people, companies, and players in our shared past that shaped the industry as it stands today, according to the FSTA.

Fantasy football is alive and well thanks to the dedication the WCOFF, Matthew Berry, the namesake of the MBCG award, and the FSTA.

It is an honor to be connected with Mr. Berry on LinkedIn.

Now go do some homework, look at some mock drafts and start to figure out who are the potential breakout candidates for the 2019 NFL season so you can win your fantasy football activities.

See ya later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!

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