DENVER (AP) Bo Brownstein’s love of finance and football has taken him from the Rose Bowl to Wall Street, from interning for U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy to serving a four-month prison term for insider trading.
After forfeiting almost $2.5 million and serving his time in federal lockup in 2012 for trading on a tip in advance of an acquisition, Brownstein’s career as a hedge fund manager was finished. He set out to rebuild his relationships and reputation.
”I obviously wasn’t able to continue in the investment world,” Brownstein said. ”That kind of was the moment where I thought, `What other things am I very passionate about?”’
Business. Competition. Sports.
He began pondering how he could combine these interests along with the connections he’d made from his days as a lineman at Northwestern and then UCLA in the 1990s before injuries took their toll and he shifted his focus to finance. That eventually led him to Columbia University, where he got his master’s degree in business administration before starting a hedge fund in Denver, where he had been a high school football star.
Then, one night it hit him: there was an untapped market out there for fantasy sports enthusiasts tired of losing to their buddies all the time.
”People love playing fantasy football,” Brownstein said. ”But at the end of the day, it’s no fun when you’re constantly losing.”
So, he decided to tap his connections from the worlds of sports and business and mix them with the burgeoning multi-billion dollar fantasy sports industry.
The result is the first Fantasy Sports Combine in Las Vegas this summer. The three-day event, which borrows its name from the annual NFL Combine in Indianapolis, will feature a gathering of the industry’s top analysts and current and former players and ex-coaches providing tips on how to win daily, weekly or season-long leagues, he said.
Super Bowl-winning coaches Mike Shanahan and Mike Ditka and fantasy gurus such as Matthew Berry of ESPN and Drew Dinkmeyer, who won $1 million in a one-week contest in December from DraftKings, will share strategies, tips and behind-the-scenes stories.
Von Miller, Brandon Stokley, Chauncey Billups and Adam Dunn are among the current and former athletes scheduled to appear.
”When I was approached with this I looked at it and I realized what they put together was definitely unique, it had never been done before,” said Stokley, who played 15 years in the NFL. ”There’s nothing like this available. It combines all these various experts in once place to teach you how to beat your buddies.”
Brownstein is hoping for about 1,000 attendees to the conference at the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore July 17-19, which he envisions growing into an annual event as big as Comic-Con.
”This is not an autograph session. This is not like the 1980s and you’d go the baseball card shows,” Brownstein said. ”This is about a high-level real interaction, not a quick picture and a slap on the back and you’re on your way.”
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