Citizen Sports Network: Evolving the Product and Business Model

By George Foster, Mike Harkey, Claire Magat
2006 | Case No. SPM32
Mike Kerns and Jeff Ma founded ProTrade in April of 2004. The original concept was an innovative online stock market for athletes that utilized sophisticated algorithms to compute the value of athletes’ performance. However, despite the highly differentiated product and novel approach to fantasy sports, ProTrade catered to too small of a market segment to reach profitability. Forced to attract a broader target audience, the company shifted its attention to a more traditional fantasy sports product and utilized social networking to reach the mass market. It renamed the company Citizen Sports Network (CSN) and sought to expand the fantasy sports landscape by leveraging the existing community and infrastructure of social networking platforms. Now, as the record-breaking, 2008 fantasy football season was underway, Kerns and Ma were eager to see whether or not all of the changes to the business model would pay off.
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