Grand Angels Sign Fantasy Sports Company, Mock Draft Central, LLC

January 19, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Sports News
With nearly 15 million active fantasy sports participants, the growing fantasy industry continues to supply sports enthusiasts and statistics junkies with a technological platter of draft picks and player stats. The Grand Angels, West Michigan’s only Angel investment group, hopes to bring West Michigan a piece of the fantasy sports pie through their investment in Mock Draft Central, LLC.

Founded in 2002 by company president Jason Pliml, Mock Draft Central is the premier provider of fantasy sports drafting technology. Setting the industry standard, the core service offered at is a multi-player, real-time, live draft. Subscribers use the software in an online mock drafting community where they assemble imaginary sports teams comprised of real-life sports players. Subscribers can set up private drafts with friends or compete against other Mock Draft Central subscribers. Statistical reports are created from the compilation of mock drafts. These statistics are widely distributed throughout the fantasy industry and have become a common feature in fantasy sports publications.

“This is a very exciting time for us; we’re thrilled to be partnering with such a talented entrepreneur,” says Jody Vanderwel, President of the Grand Angels, “Although the fantasy sports arena is a new concept for many of our members, the Grand Angels remain impressed with Mock Draft Central’s technology and Jason’s reach into the growing market.”

The multi-billion dollar worldwide industry caters to the highly-sought after demographic of 30-45 year old males. The fantasy sports market is the textbook definition of a well-defined demographic - 95% of fantasy sports participants are male, with a median income in excess of $75,000. Retailers appreciate the importance of this audience and are beginning to understand that the most effective place to reach this demographic group is online.

In addition to subscription-based services, Mock Draft Central also licenses their drafting technology. The technology is licensed by companies looking to compete with the top players in the industry on quality, features, and user experience. The cost of developing basic drafting functionality represents 40-50% of the overall cost of product development for a fantasy sports game company. By licensing the premium drafting product, licensees get a proven product and the right to use Mock Draft Central’s patented technology for a fraction of the cost of trying to build from scratch. Since the technology supports all sports, including football, basketball, baseball, hockey, golf, and college or other niche sports, licensing is an excellent option for international companies as well as domestic brands.

Craig Hall, Grand Angel Founder and Mock Draft Central investor says, “Jason Pliml is the kind of creative entrepreneur that, as he builds his future here, is helping build the future West Michigan economy for us all. He has the kind of drive, vision and values that Grand Angels is proud to support. It will be exciting to see Mock Draft Central continue to develop within this evolving sports business model."

“I’m very pleased with our partnership with the Grand Angels,” says Pliml. “The Angels have been very supportive and continually provide me with valuable advice, allowing me to grow the company from a successful startup to a key player in the industry.”

“The investment in Mock Draft Central, LLC is an extension of our mission,” says Jody Vanderwel, President of the Grand Angels. “Our members are committed to nurturing our state’s economy through investments in local, start-up and early-stage businesses.”

The Grand Angels was convened in January of 2004 by former Grand Bank Founder and CEO Charles C. (“Chuck”) Stoddard. Membership has grown from eight founders to over forty members. The Grand Angels are one of four Angel networks that have formed across the State of Michigan.

The mission of the Grand Angels is to utilize its financial, intellectual and networking capital to promote the success of young growing companies and to enhance the economic development of West Michigan. The Grand Angels are committed to making “investments with a difference.” Grand Angel members invest as individuals and not as a group fund. This is their fifth collective investment.

The Grand Angels are members of the Angel Capital Alliance, an organization nurtured by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (Kansas City, MO), which continues to provide national leadership for the movement.

For more information, please contact: or visit our website,