Interview with WhatIfSport’s Mike Schneid

As a bit of a celebration about the changes here, With Malice is entering a bit of a deal with WhatIfSports – we’re going to run a sim league via here in tandem with them, more on that later… but to start the ball rolling, I interviewed Mike Schneid from WhatIfSports, and asked a few questions…
With Malice (Don): For the uninitiated out there, give us the CliffsNotes version of what WhatIfSports is…
Mike: Whatifsports.com is the web’s leading sports simulation website and specializes in answering the great “What if?” questions in sports by simulating games between historical teams in professional basketball, football, baseball and hockey, or collegiate football and basketball. We have pay games like SimLeague and dynasty and you can do any simulations you want for free using SimMatchup. We have content based on our simulations.

fantasy-sports1WM: What sports do you cover?
Mike: We cover every sport! We have SimLeague games for NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL. Dynasty games for college football, college basketball, baseball, car racing, and soccer. Content-wise, NFL and college football are our two biggest things. We are looking to expand to do weekly simulations for every sport, especially basketball. We do content for each sport though.

WM: What’s the growth been like for WhatIfSports?

Mike: Its been pretty exciting. I have only been here a year but I have seen how this site has really evolved. The games continue to get better and better. We have an unbelievable staff of developers who work so hard day in and day out to upgrade our games until they are perfect – and since nothing is ever perfect they are always improving everything.
Our content pieces have really picked up over the last year. Being associated with FoxSports helps as they pick up a lot of what we write to put on their site. We have a small office and not a lot of employees but everyone here from developers, to graphics guys, to the business side works really hard. It is a great place to work and WhatIfSports should continue to really grow over the next year.
WM: What’s your role at WhatIfSports?
Mike: My role is business-related. I focus on the marketing aspect of the website. Trying to spread the word to other websites, radio and tv people, and whoever else will listen to tell them how awesome WhatIfSports is. I am just trying to build the site through whatever means possible. I do a lot of repurposing of our content and also take care of the social media aspect (Facebook and Twitter).
WM: Is Fantasy Sports on the whole growing in your opinion? It has seemed to be really taking off over the past few years.
Mike: Definitely. I think fantasy sports has become a monster to be honest. Football has grown to unimaginable levels. With 1 day a week allotted for games it is easier to get so worked up and caught up in your players’ performance that some people become obsessed. Other sports I feel not so much, but still the growth is there.
Our games sort of branch off the fantast concept from the fact that it is not a live fantasy game it is historical. The current play of certain players will not affect your team and our unique games are based on historical stats.
WM: With Malice will be starting a SimLeague – could you tell people what’s involved in that?
Mike: Pick any NBA players from any years, any teams. The way that With Malice will be doing it is a draft format in the With Malice forums. Typically teams can choose any players and multiple teams can have the same players but I we will do this league differently. The set up will be similar to a fantasy draft and you will be able to choose a player from any year. You cannot repeat players in the draft. Once Tim Duncan from the 2001 season (for example) is selected, no other Tim Duncan can be picked. Once you have your team set, the league will begin. The results are based on simulations that are based on statistics.
WM: How many people can we get involved in the With Malice sim league?
Mike: The With Malice SimLeague will include 24 people total. We can set a certain type of theme. I believe you do not want Michael Jordan. That constitutes as a theme and since you are doing draft style you obviously will have a no clones league as well (no doubles of a player).
WM: Can these sim-players be injured? If I choose the 2010 Kevin Garnett, are his knees going to blow out?
Mike: Yes, these sim players can get injured. I don’t think its fair to use Kevin Garnett as an example…actually, I am a Knicks fan so I don’t mind seeing you take a shot at the Celtics. But in all seriousness if you took the 2010 Garnett you might be in trouble. We actually do not have the 2009-2010 players in the system yet since we need stats for the whole season so we wont have those until after regular season. But even KG last year was injured a lot. Also we can try to make Paul Pierce cry. I am sure we would both enjoy that. We can’t really do that though (but we can try!).
WM: I read on your site that users can earn points and actually win prizes – that’s amazing! Can you tell us a little about that?
Mike: You earn reward point for winning leagues and use those points to cash in to win prizes. Our rewards center include a WIS t-shirt, $25 Amazon gift card, free seasons to limited games, and a $20 gift certificate from Fathead.com.

WM: What – in your opinion – is the best feature about WhatIfSports?
Mike: The Dream Teams feature. Take the Lakers for example. Look at the 2008 team. Say you add Chris Paul from that season to the Lakers. Now you can simulate any game against any team from any year. Or we can do it and simulate the Lakers vs any team “x” times to see how much better (or worse) the Lakers would be with Chris Paul starting at PG over Derek Fisher. Replay the NBA finals from that year and see if result would be any different. Or you can simply create a “dream team.” Take Kobe, Lebron, Duncan, Durant, and CP3 and there is your starting 5. Take this team against some of the all time great Lakers teams or even Celtics teams and see how your dreams teams would compare against others.

WM: Mike, thanks a heap for the interview…
Mike: It was my pleasure.
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Now, in the next few days, I’ll announce the sign-up for the Legends League.  Should be a lot of fun, there’ll be 23 spots open (I’ll be taking one!).  Hoping to get a good group to play this…
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