I don’t know much about fantasy football, but I know that an outage on the server minutes before game time is not good news. Yahoo’s homepage sees about 170 million daily users who click in to do a variety of things, including fantasy football. Of all the Yahoo users who play fantasy football, 73 percent use Yahoo’s own fantasy football league.
A recent survey found out how much fans really care about football—more than 25 percent of males ages 18-34 said they’d consider giving up sex for a year if it mean their team would win the title. The interest in fantasy football isn’t much different. Yahoo’s fantasy football has been the champion for 15 years with a roster of more than 5.4 million registered users last season. Unfortunately for the fantasy fans, if you didn’t set up your fantasy football line-up on Yahoo before Sunday’s 1 p.m. games you were out of luck; the site was down minutes before game time.
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Needless to say, people were not happy with the outage on Sunday. A lot of tweets even led to varieties of murderous rage, flagging Yahoo for a personal foul. Yahoo said its service had mostly been restored Monday and apologized profusely for fumbling at the worst possible moment, when last-minute fantasy trades or lineup changes are made, moves that can determine whether users' fictional teams make the playoffs and who wins end-of-season cash prizes of hundreds of dollars or more.
The head of Yahoo! Sports, Ken Fuchs, sent out an e-mail early Monday morning apologizing for the problem and explaining the current state of the issue. The mobile app is the primary issue, but the website appears to be back up and running.
“I want to sincerely apologize to all of you about today's Yahoo! Sports Fantasy outage. As the head of Yahoo! Sports and as a Yahoo! Sports fantasy player myself, I am disappointed that we failed all of our fans today. Our first priority is having the best experience for our users, and today we fell short,” read Fuchs’ statement.
Services like Yahoo's, which enable users to set up their own leagues with drafts, randomized team games and a process to make trades, are free. But fantasy sports leagues generate massive website traffic and direct and indirect revenue estimated to be $3 billion a year.
Fantasy footballers cost their employers up to $6.5 billion in lost productivity. According to a “very rough” study by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, if 22.3 million American workers spend one hour each week managing their fantasy football team, the cost to the nation’s employers in terms of wages paid to unproductive workers over the course of the typical 15-week fantasy football season could approach $6.5 billion.
"The recent research put out by Challenger, Gray & Christmas only reveals the tip of an iceberg. In addition to spending time on fantasy football, employees are also spending time online during work hours watching a wide range of other sporting events, shopping, posting on Facebook (News - Alert) and just randomly surfing the Web. In fact, a recent survey revealed that during the Olympics, 40 percent of employees planned to watch events on company time. When you add up all of the money businesses lose due to stolen time, $6.5 billion may be only a small fraction," said Nick Cavalancia, VP of SpectorSoft, a company that provides monitoring software used to enforce good productivity habits. "The real problem isn't all of the distractions found on the Internet, it is the lack of control employers have over how employees use corporate computing resources. If enterprises had the ability to enforce limitations on personal use, then much of the problem would be solved."