US20140162786A1 - Online commodity competition - Google Patents

Online commodity competition Download PDF

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US20140162786A1
US20140162786A1 US13706921 US201213706921A US2014162786A1 US 20140162786 A1 US20140162786 A1 US 20140162786A1 US 13706921 US13706921 US 13706921 US 201213706921 A US201213706921 A US 201213706921A US 2014162786 A1 US2014162786 A1 US 2014162786A1
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team
franchise
franchises
teams
league
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US13706921
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Matthew James Hartleip
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Matthew James Hartleip
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F9/00Games not otherwise provided for
    • A63F9/24Electric games; Games using electronic circuits not otherwise provided for
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F13/00Video games, i.e. games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions
    • A63F13/60Generating or modifying game content before or while executing the game program, e.g. authoring tools specially adapted for game development or game-integrated level editor
    • A63F13/65Generating or modifying game content before or while executing the game program, e.g. authoring tools specially adapted for game development or game-integrated level editor automatically by game devices or servers from real world data, e.g. measurement in live racing competition
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F13/00Video games, i.e. games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions
    • A63F13/80Special adaptations for executing a specific game genre or game mode
    • A63F13/828Managing virtual sport teams

Abstract

An online competition may track performance of real life commodities. The competition may organize groups of franchises into leagues. The competition may also group the franchises into teams of franchises where performance of each franchise may contribute toward a team performance total. The team performance total may be used to determine a winner amongst a group of teams assembled into a competition.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention generally relates to contests and more particularly, to an online commodity competition.
  • Online competitions may offer a variety of themes to which participants may demonstrate a skill in understanding the underlying bases for performance. For example, some online competitions offer a fantasy competition where a participant chooses from amongst a pool of eligible real life commodities whose performance may be tracked. The participant may typically assemble a group of commodities to represent the participant in competition; the better the performance of the commodities, the better the chances of winning the competition.
  • For example, a popular form of online competition is a fantasy sports league. A participant typically plays the role of general manager under the concept that he or she can perform better as a general manager than other competitors in the league. A participant may typically field a franchise in the league composed of real life professional athletes. The athletes may in real life be on different franchises, yet may be fictitiously assembled together as part of the participant's franchise.
  • A fantasy sports competition may have several franchise participants depending on the underlying theme of the competition. The franchises with the best performance are generally rewarded. Typically, participation is by an individual competing against other individuals. Generally, as a season of play progresses, some franchises clearly separate from others in success. In some cases, the better performing franchises may be actively maneuvering personnel to stay ahead in the competition.
  • An undesirable result of these competitions may be the lack of incentive to continue actively participating when it becomes apparent that a franchise(s) is unable to overcome better performing franchises within a league. Some participants simply surrender and cease participating since they hold themselves accountable only to their own franchise. Other franchises may be unable to continue because a real life event has required their attention and thus, they are unable to attend to their franchise. An unintended consequence of participant apathy is that other participants may benefit, for example, by acquiring easy victories against absentee franchises. This may contribute to other participants being dissatisfied because the integrity of the competition has been compromised.
  • Another issue with typical online competitions is the luck factor. Some veteran competitors may consider fantasy sports competitions a game of skill rather than luck. However, luck does manifest itself, for example, as injuries to real life athletes. It can be frustrating for some competitors to assemble a competitive roster of players only to have their plans derailed by injury or some other real life event. A number of bad luck occurrences may force a participant to surrender well before the season ends.
  • As can be seen, there is a need for an online competition which may mitigate participant apathy and provide a competitive environment throughout a season.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In one aspect of the present invention, a computer program product for providing an online competition comprises a computer readable storage medium having computer readable program code embodied therewith. The computer readable program code may be configured to: provide a website configured to host the online competition; and organize a group of teams together into the online competition on the website. Each team within the group of teams may include a plurality of franchises. Each franchise within each team may represent their respective team in a league versus franchises in other teams in the group of teams in the online competition.
  • In another aspect of the present invention, a server comprises a storage module and a processor. The processor may be configured to: provide an electronic interface configured to host an online fantasy competition; organize on the electronic interface, a plurality of franchise leagues comprising respectively a plurality of franchises comprising individually performing commodities wherein each franchise is a member of a team of franchises grouped together from the plurality of franchises, and each franchise within each team represents their respective team in each franchise's respective franchise league; organize on the electronic interface into a team league, a plurality of teams of franchises wherein a performance of each team within the plurality of teams of franchises is tracked; and provide a platform to exchange the individually performing commodities across the plurality of teams of franchises.
  • In another aspect of the present invention, a method of providing an online competition, comprises providing an electronic interface configured to host the online competition; organizing on the electronic interface, a plurality of leagues comprising respectively a plurality of franchises comprising individually performing commodities, wherein each franchise is a member of a team of franchises grouped together from the plurality of franchises, and each franchise within each team represents their respective team in each franchise's respective league; and determining a performance of each team based on a performance of individual franchises within respective teams.
  • These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following drawings, description and claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a network system according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an online competition organization structure of an online competition according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 3 is a screenshot of a registration page that may be used in the online competition of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 4 is a screenshot of an exemplary franchise setup page that may be used in the online competition of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 5 is a screenshot of an exemplary team setup page that may be used in the online competition of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 6 is a screenshot of an exemplary team league setup page that may be used in the online competition of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 7 is a screenshot of an exemplary franchise league setup page that may be used in the online competition of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 8 is a flowchart of an exemplary method of entering the online competition of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 9 is a flowchart of an exemplary method of distributing franchises among teams and leagues in the online competition of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 10 is a screenshot of an exemplary franchise league organization page that may be used in the online competition of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 11 is a screenshot of an exemplary team organization structure page of teams shown in FIG. 10;
  • FIG. 12 is a flowchart of an exemplary method of franchise preparation prior to season play showing the construction of a roster of commodities in the online competition of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 13 is a screenshot of an exemplary franchise home page that may be used in the online competition of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 14 is a screenshot of an exemplary team home page that may be used in the online competition of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 15 is a screenshot of an exemplary game center page displaying real-time scoring and rosters of a head to head matchup during the online competition of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 16 is a screenshot of an overview page for a team league that may be used in the online competition of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 17 is a flowchart of an exemplary method of determining franchise and team scoring during the online competition of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 18 is a flowchart of an exemplary method of game play during the online competition of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 19 is a flowchart of an exemplary method of playoff activity during the online competition of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 20 is a data relationship table for setting up and establishing relationships in the online competition of FIG. 2 according to yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention; and
  • FIG. 21 is a data relationship table showing commodity and scoring sources relationships to franchises and teams in the online competition of FIG. 2 according to yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • The following detailed description is of the best currently contemplated modes of carrying out the invention. The description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of illustrating the general principles of the invention, since the scope of the invention is best defined by the appended claims.
  • Various inventive features are described below that can each be used independently of one another or in combination with other features. However, any single inventive feature may not address any of the problems discussed above or may only address one of the problems discussed above. Further, one or more of the problems discussed above may not be fully addressed by any of the features described below.
  • The present invention generally provides an online competition where participants may collaborate toward and end-goal. For example, embodiments of the present invention may group a plurality of participants into a team, each of whom may have an individual franchise where the collective performance of franchises contributes toward a team performance. Embodiments of the present invention also allow for individual franchises to compete for individual performance while simultaneously contributing toward the team's collective performance. The team's performance may be compared to other teams in determining a winner of the competition. This may allow participants to collaborate and work together instead of against each other all the time. The effect of luck in competitions may be reduced in general by spreading risk amongst team members. In addition, franchises may have incentive to keep putting forth effort even with bad individual seasons since their performance is vitally significant to the overall team. Thus integrity may be maintained in individual franchise leagues by providing an incentive for individual franchise owners to remain active to benefit the overall team. Furthermore, franchises may have access to other franchises on the team thus allowing assistance to other team members to help manage or submit lineup changes if a participant is not able to attend to their own franchise.
  • Referring to the Figures in general, references to elements in subsequent Figures called out in previous Figures will be understood as referring back to the previous Figure(s).
  • Referring to FIG. 1, a network system 100 is shown according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. A server 110 may be configured to control the administration of online competitions employing aspects of the present invention. The server 110 may be configured for example as a game logic server. Details concerning the competition setup and control will be described in detail below, however, it will be understood that the server 110 may perform these functions. For example, the server 110 may include a storage module 114 configured to collect and store data related to the online competition. The storage module 114 may also include an operating system for operating the online competition. The server 110 may include a processor configured to perform actions related to the operating system and the administration of the competition.
  • The server 110 may be coupled to a network 145 providing communication between the server 110 and users. In some embodiments, connection to the server 110 may be provided through a cloud computing environment. A web server 150 may be configured to provide a website or other user interface module to access the competition. Access to the web server may be accomplished through a network 155 via user access devices 160. The access devices 160 may be for example, a mobile phone, tablet, desktop computer, or terminal, however this is not necessarily an exhaustive list of access devices.
  • The server 110 may be coupled to a data layer 105 through a network 115. Data retrieved by the server 110 may be related to subjects being tracked for performance in the competition. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the competition may be related to fantasy sports. In an exemplary embodiment, the subject of the competition may be the performance of professional players. The data layer 105 may include a database of real-time player statistics 130 and a database of player news feeds 135. Data from the databases 130 and 135 may be accessed by game data storage module 120 through a network 125. In some embodiments, the server 110 may be configured to administer a single theme type of competition and the game data storage module 120 may organize data retrieved into subjects relevant to the theme type. Input entries from users or third party sources may be automatically stored in the database 120. The database 120 may store all game data related to the online competition which may include for example, user information, settings, rules, participants, franchises, teams, franchise leagues, team leagues, rosters, starting lineups, and reserved rosters. In some embodiments, the server 110 may be configured to administer multiple theme types of competition and may organize the different competition theme types into respective web pages for access.
  • As will be appreciated by one skilled in the art, aspects of the present invention may be embodied as a system, a method or process, or a computer program product. Accordingly, aspects of the present invention may take the form of an entirely hardware embodiment, an entirely software embodiment (including firmware, resident software, micro-code, etc.) or an embodiment combining software and hardware aspects that may all generally be referred to herein as a “circuit,” “module,” or “system.” Furthermore, aspects of the present invention may take the form of a computer program product embodied in one or more computer readable media having computer readable program code embodied thereon.
  • Any combination of one or more computer readable media may be utilized. The computer readable medium may be a computer readable signal medium or a computer readable storage medium. A computer readable storage medium may be, for example, but not limited to, an electronic, magnetic, optical, electromagnetic, infrared, or semiconductor system, apparatus, or device, or any suitable combination of the foregoing. More specific examples (a non-exhaustive list) of the computer readable storage medium would include the following: an electrical connection having one or more wires, a portable computer diskette, a hard disk, a random access memory (RAM), a read-only memory (ROM), an erasable programmable read-only memory (EPROM or Flash memory), an optical fiber, a portable compact disc read-only memory (CD-ROM), an optical storage device, a magnetic storage device, or any suitable combination of the foregoing and in some contexts, arranged into a cloud computing environment. In the context of this document, a computer readable storage medium may be any tangible medium that can contain, or store a program for use by or in connection with an instruction execution system, apparatus, or device.
  • Program code embodied on a computer readable medium may be transmitted using any appropriate medium, including but not limited to wireless, wireline, optical fiber cable, RF, etc., or any suitable combination of the foregoing.
  • Computer program code for carrying out operations for aspects of the present invention may be written in any combination of one or more programming languages. The program code may execute entirely on the user's computer, partly on the user's computer, as a stand-alone software package, partly on the user's computer and partly on a remote computer or entirely on the remote computer or server. In the latter scenario, the remote computer may be connected to the user's computer through any type of network, including a local area network (LAN) or a wide area network (WAN) or a distributed network, or the connection may be made to an external computer (for example, through the Internet using an Internet Service Provider).
  • Aspects of the present invention are described below with reference to flowchart illustrations and/or block diagrams of methods, apparatus (systems) and computer program products according to embodiments of the invention. It will be understood that each block of the flowchart illustrations and/or block diagrams, and combinations of blocks in the flowchart illustrations and/or block diagrams, can be implemented by computer program instructions. These computer program instructions may be provided to a processor of a general purpose computer, special purpose computer, or other programmable data processing apparatus to produce a machine, such that the instructions, which execute via the processor of the computer or other programmable data processing apparatus, create means for implementing the functions/acts specified in the flowchart and/or block diagram block or blocks.
  • These computer program instructions may also be stored in a computer readable medium that can direct a computer, other programmable data processing apparatus, or other devices to function in a particular manner, such that the instructions stored in the computer readable medium produce an article of manufacture including instructions which implement the function/act specified in the flowchart and/or block diagram block or blocks.
  • The computer program instructions may also be loaded onto a computer, other programmable data processing apparatus, or other devices to cause a series of operational steps to be performed on the computer, other programmable apparatus or other devices to produce a computer implemented process such that the instructions which execute on the computer or other programmable apparatus may provide processes for implementing the functions/acts specified in the flowchart and/or block diagram block or blocks.
  • Referring now to FIG. 2, an organization structure 200 of a competition association 210 is shown according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. The competition association 210 may be provided as an online competition. In an exemplary embodiment, the competition association 210 may include one or more team leagues 225. For sake of illustration only a single team league 225 is shown. The team league 225 may include a plurality of franchises 250 (labeled in the format of “Franchise X-Y”). For sake of illustration, only a single franchise 250 is called out. Each franchise 250 may include a plurality of commodities 211. For sake of illustration, only a single franchise 250 (Franchise 1-1) shows commodities 211 and only a single commodity 211 is called out. Each franchise 250 may be a member of a franchise league 220 1, 220 2, 220 3 . . . 220 n (referred to collectively as franchise leagues 220). Each franchise 250 may also be grouped into a team 230 1, 230 2, 230 3 . . . 230 n of franchises 250 (referred to collectively as teams 230). In an exemplary embodiment, each franchise 250 within each team 230 may represent their respective team 230 during competition within a franchise league 220 versus franchises 250 on other teams 230 in the competition. For example, “Franchise 1-1” may represent “Team 1” in “Franchise League 1”; “Franchise 1-2” may represent “Team 2” in “Franchise League 1”, and so on.
  • The performance of each commodity 211 may contribute toward a franchise's 250 performance. The performance of each franchise 250 in their respective franchise league 220 may contribute toward winning the franchise league 220. In an exemplary embodiment, the performance of each franchise 250 in their respective franchise league 220 may also contribute toward their team's 230 performance in the team league 225. The performance of each franchise 250 within their respective team 230 may be aggregated as a team performance total. The online competition may include multiple team competitions pitting team leagues 225 against one another, however for sake of clarity the following description of the online competition will be described in the context of a single team league 225. A winner of the team league 225 may be determined based on the team performance total of each team 230. Each team 230 may designate a franchise 250 as a team captain 251. The team captain 251 may represent the team 230 in matters concerning the competition association 210. The team captain 251 initially setting up a franchise league 220 by default may also function as the commissioner for their franchise league 220.
  • The following description of the subject disclosure is provided in the context of a user (participant) initially establishing the team league 225 on an electronic interface, for example a website, a distributed desktop, or a mobile device application. The interface may be controlled by the system 100 of FIG. 1. Thus, many actions are described in the context of the initial setup of the various levels of the organization (for example, the setup of a franchise 250, a franchise league 220, a team 230, and a team league 225). It will be understood however, that a user may access pages of the interface hosting the online competition with different levels of organization established by previous participants. Thus, users may be able to access the interface and establish their own franchise 250 and select from pre-established franchise leagues 220, teams 230, and team leagues 225. In some embodiments, users may have their franchises assigned to franchise leagues 220 rather than manually selecting a franchise league 220 for participation.
  • Referring now to FIG. 3, a screenshot 300 of an exemplary registration page for a participant in the online competition is shown. A participant may enter biographical information into a set of fields 301 which is then stored in the application database 120 (FIG. 1) which the server 110 (FIG. 1) may reference when performing actions corresponding to the participant. There may also be a login section 302 configured to receive a registered participant's login information. Registration by a participant may provide access initially to a franchise setup page. After logging in to a registered account, the default behavior of the interface may be for example, to send the participant to a home page (described in further detail below) summarizing and providing access to all franchises, teams, and leagues to which the participant belongs.
  • Referring now to FIG. 4, a screenshot 400 of an exemplary franchise setup webpage is shown. The participant may interface with the webpage and enter a franchise name in a name field 405. A slogan or motto associated with the franchise 250 may be entered in a tag line field 410. A franchise name abbreviation may be entered in field 415. An image field 420 may include a picture associated with the franchise 250 that may be uploaded by the participant. A team league selection area 450 may include a list of team leagues 225 that the participant may consider joining. For each team league 225, the name of the commissioner 425 in charge may be shown, the number of teams 430 may be listed, the team competition style format 435 may be listed, and the franchise league competition style format 440 may be listed. A section 445 may list one of the team leagues 225 shown in the league selection area 450. The section 445 may show the teams 230 currently setup for the team league 225 selected in the league selection area 450. The section 445 may also show the name of the commissioner that created the team 230 and will commission by default along with the name of the franchise league 220 the commissioner competes in.
  • Referring now to FIG. 5, a screenshot 500 of an exemplary team setup webpage is shown. The team setup webpage may include a field 505 for input of a team name. Field 510 may receive input of a team tag line. Field 515 may receive input of an abbreviation representing the team name. An image field 520 may allow a user, for example, a team captain 251 (FIG. 2) to upload an image representing the team 230. A section 525 on the webpage may list franchises 250 that may be members of the team 230.
  • A franchise league setup area 550 may be configured to allow a team captain 251 to input attributes establishing an individual franchise league 220 which they may create and serve as a commissioner. For example, a league description field 560 and a league image field 565 may receive input that may be used to identify the franchise league 220. In some embodiments, no more than one member per team 230 may be allowed per franchise league 220. However, not necessarily every team 230 may be represented in a given franchise league 220. In some embodiments, the participant creating a team 230 may by default also be creating a franchise league 220.
  • The webpage may also include an area of tasks that the team captain 251 may employ to administrate activity within the team 230. For example, the team captain 251 may select a franchise 250 within the team 230 which may provide access to control of the franchise. The team captain 251 may be enabled to manage the franchise 250, for example, in the event the owner of the selected franchise 250 is unable to attend to their roster.
  • Referring now to FIG. 6, a screenshot 600 of an exemplary team league 225 setup webpage is shown. A commissioner may enable team league settings that govern the competition within the team league 225. The team league settings may include a team league name 605. An underlying theme type 610 of the competition which may be for example the performance of players in a professional football league. The commissioner may set an amount of teams in the team league via setting 615. A team size representing for example, an amount of franchises in a team may be set via setting 620. A number of starting franchises in a scoring period may be set via setting 625.
  • A league description setting 630 may allow a commissioner to provide a description of the expected competition environment. A team scoring format setting 635 may set the scoring system format for tracking team performance in the team league 225. A franchise scoring format 640 setting may set the scoring system format for tracking a franchise performance within franchise leagues 220. In some embodiments, the team scoring format 635 may be different than the franchise scoring format 640. Other league settings may include an option 645 to enable the team league 225 as having cash prizes, an option 650 to enable public participation into the team league 225, an entry fee setting 655, and an option 660 as having prize payouts which can be edited.
  • A team interface section 670 may provide an interface for the team league commissioner to select one of the teams 230 within the team league 225 for a review of its attributes. Exemplary attributes for a team 230 that may be reviewed are for example, the team name, the team captain, the number of current franchise slots (members) filled, and a franchise league name associated with the franchise league that the captain setup and will commission by default. As a commissioner of the team league 225, this would give the user a snapshot of all of the individual franchise leagues 220 and their commissioners.
  • Referring now to FIG. 7, a screenshot 700 of an exemplary franchise league 220 setup webpage is shown. In some embodiments, the team league 225 creator (commissioner) may establish the setup for the individual franchise leagues 220 where individual franchises compete, draft, set lineups for, etc. A section 710 may provide options for distributing team members (franchises) 250 into their individual franchise leagues 220. One option may allow for one franchise 250 from a team 230 per franchise league 220 (shown as the “Unique” option under the “Team Disbursement” setting). Another option may allow all franchises 250 from a team 230 to compete within the same franchise league 220 (shown as the “Inter-Team” option under the “Team Disbursement” setting). Another option may include allowing one or more franchises 250 from a team 230 to compete within the same franchise league 220 (shown as the “Random” option under the “Team Disbursement” setting). An option to provide a platform to exchange commodities between franchises 250 of different franchise leagues 220. An option to ‘Allow Team Members to be Traded’ may provide a platform for a team captain to trade an entire franchise 250 to another team 230. A section may show each franchise 250 within a franchise league 220 along with the team 230 the franchise 250 represents. The name of the participant 235 managing the franchise 250 may be shown. An administrator may have permissions to act on the franchises 250 and teams 230 by selecting on any of the franchises 250. In the screenshot 700, two different franchise leagues 220 are shown as being organized with one as a “West” division and the other as an “East” division. However it will be understood that different alignments or no alignments at all may be used.
  • Referring now to FIG. 8, a method 800 of a participant entering the competition association 210 (FIG. 2) is shown according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. The method 800 may represent the flow of a user getting setup to play the online competition 210 which may include setting up a new team league 225 if desired. The actions described herein may represent for example, the user experience shown by interfacing with the screenshots shown in FIGS. 3-7. A participant may start (801) by visiting (805) the online competition host's home page. The participant may indicate (810) whether the participant has a pre-existing account. If the participant is not registered, then the server may provide (815) a registration page (for example, the page shown in FIG. 3) for the participant to fill out. A registered participant may be provided (820) with a log in field. The participant may be redirected (825) to a franchise setup page (for example, the page shown in FIG. 4). The participant may enter (830) franchise information and either create or join a team league 225.
  • In general, the user may select a team league 225 based on the rules and parameters they wish to compete in. Subsequent options allow for the user to select a team 230 and then they may be assigned to one or more franchise leagues 220.
  • If the option to create a team league 225 is selected, the participant may be redirected (835) to a team league setup page. The participant may enter and submit (840) team league settings. The participant may enter and submit (845) the franchise league competition settings. The participant may open (850) the team league to others to join. The participant may then be directed (880) to a team setup page to establish a team.
  • If the option to join an existing team league is selected, the participant may select (855) an existing team league to compete in. A determination (860) of whether an entry fee is required may be made. A participant may submit (865) the entry fee when required. The participant may decide to create or join (870) a pre-existing team after the fee requirement is determined. When joining a pre-existing team the participant may select (875) a team from a list. When creating a team, the participant may be re-directed (880) to a page to set up the team. The participant may enter and submit (885) the team settings. The participant may open (895) the team to others to join.
  • Referring now to FIG. 9, a method 900 of distributing franchises among franchise leagues is shown according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Some embodiments may distribute franchises from one team into different franchise leagues so no one franchise league has more than one member from each team. In some embodiments, more than one team member from a common team may be in a league. From starting point 901 the server may load (905) team member records for all franchises in a team league including draft slots corresponding to each franchise within a team. The server may load (910) franchise league records. The server may retrieve (915) a participant's franchise record. The server may determine (920) whether the participant is a team captain. Team captains may be assigned (925) to their respective franchise league. This may by default, be the league they set up to commission. The server may determine (930) if all member records are reached. The end of the file may end the process. Otherwise, the server may retrieve (915) the next member record. Non team captains' records may be sent (935) to the next franchise league for entry. The server may determine (940) whether the franchise league already has a member with the current draft slot filled. In an exemplary embodiment, draft slots may be determined for a franchise first for embodiments that restrict each team to only one of each draft slot. In this manner, the determination at (940) may decide first if the current franchise being evaluated has a slot assigned for the team that is or is not filled for the franchise league. If not, the server may determine (945) if any other team members from the same team already exist in that franchise league. If no other team members are already in the franchise league, the franchise may be assigned (950) to the franchise league. If common team members are already in the franchise league, the server may determine (955) the franchise league filled (or at least ineligible for the franchise being placed) and may loop back to attempt placement (935) into another league.
  • In some embodiments, the method 900 may provide redistribution of franchises in order to maintain restrictions of one team member from a team per franchise league and one draft slot number for each team. For example, the server may load (960) draft data for each franchise league with the draft slot associated with the franchise currently being placed. In this instance, it may be required to shuffle participants to a different franchise league to meet the unique team member requirement. The server may retrieve (965) the record of the next franchise league record. For example, the server may be attempting to find a franchise league for a user Bob on Team 10 that has draft slot number 8. The server may determine (970) if the league for Bob's placement already has another team member associated with the team of the franchise being placed (Bob's franchise). The server may determine that every franchise league left in the process that still has an open draft slot position 8 but also contains another member of Team 10. The server may replace (975) the current franchise (for example, Tom's franchise from Team 2) holding the same draft slot position as the franchise being placed (Bob's franchise). For example, the server may find a league that has the draft slot position 8 filled (but no Team 10 members in other slots) and will remove the existing franchise (Tom's franchise) from the draft slot position 8 and will insert the franchise being placed (Bob's franchise) into the draft slot position 8. The server may then find a league with an open draft slot position 8 and no Team 2 members where it would then place Tom's franchise.
  • Referring now to FIG. 10, a screenshot showing an exemplary franchise league organization 1000 is shown. The franchise league organization 1000 is shown in the context of the various franchise leagues 220 that include franchises 250 that are members of teams 230 competing in the team league 225. As described previously, the franchises 250 may compete on their own within their own franchise leagues 220 against other individual franchises while contributing to a higher level of competition at the team league 225 level. Two franchise leagues 220 are shown however it will be understood that the team league 225 may include more than two franchise leagues 220. Each franchise league 220 may include a plurality of franchises 250 listed by their respective names. Each franchise 250 may be listed within the franchise league 220 by a draft position 1010. The draft position 1010 may be related to the order of selecting commodities 211 (FIG. 2) during a draft. The team 230 corresponding to each franchise 250 may be listed next to the franchise 250.
  • Referring now to FIG. 11, a screenshot 1100 showing an exemplary team 230 organization is shown. Two teams 230 are shown however it will be understood that the competition may include more than two teams 230. Each franchise 250 within a team 230 may be listed along with the franchise league 220 the franchise 250 is competing in. The draft position 1110 for each franchise 250 may also be shown. In some embodiments, draft order for franchises 250 may be based on a random number generated selection. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the power of draft position may be controlled by configuring the team league 225 so that members of a team 230 have distinct draft positions within their respective franchise leagues 220. For example, for each draft position slot, no two franchises 250 within a team 230 may have the same draft position number within their own franchise league 220 draft (for example, as described during the distribution of franchises in FIG. 9). This may prevent one team 230 from acquiring an advantage at drafts if a number of its members have what may be considered an advantageous draft spot in a given year.
  • Referring now to FIG. 12, a method 1200 of providing an online competition franchise setup is shown according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. This may illustrate the process that may happen after a user has created a franchise, joined a team and a team league and has been assigned to a franchise league. The following may occur for example, prior to actual competition. From starting point (1201), a participant may visit (1205) the franchise home page. The server may read (1210) the franchise league settings for the franchise league(s) the participant is competing in. The server may select (1215) from one or more roster building formats corresponding to the franchise league. The format may be according to the franchise league the participant is slated to compete within. These formats may include for example, a draft style format, an auto-draft format, a salary cap format, or a customized format.
  • Under a draft style format, the participant may pre-rank (1220) commodities he or she may wish to select for their franchise. The participant may check (1225) whether a draft has started.
  • Before drafting of commodities commences, the participant may collaborate (1230) with team members to share information. Communication with fellow team members may occur through for example an area on the competition website restricted to only members of the team. Other forms of communication outside the site may also be used. When drafting begins, the participant may in some embodiments, enter (1235) an online draft room for the franchise league they are participating in. The participant may select (1240) commodities from a pool of available commodities.
  • During the draft, the participant may collaborate with other team members in selecting commodities. Collaboration between team members may provide the benefit of an overall team goal. Certain risks in selecting commodities may be mitigated by coordinating the selection of commodities among team members. For example, if a commodity may be considered as providing a potentially high return but is also a high risk selection, then team members may predetermine how many team members should attempt to select that commodity (assuming another franchise does not take it first). Collaboration may occur within the restricted communication area to prevent rival teams from observing a team's strategies or information.
  • Under an auto-draft style format, the participant may pre-rank (1245) commodities he or she may wish automatically selected for their franchise. The participant may check (1250) whether the auto-draft has started.
  • Before auto-drafting of commodities commences, the participant may collaborate (1255) with team members to share information. Communication with fellow team members may occur through for example an area on the competition website restricted to only members of the team. Other forms of communication outside the site may also be used.
  • Once the auto-draft starts, the server may select and assign commodities to the franchise based on the participant's pre-ranked list of commodities. The participant may collaborate (1265) with fellow team members as described under steps (1230 and 1255) above.
  • Under an auction style or salary cap format, the participant may pre-plan (1280) how to use their allotted budget. During a commodity selection process (for example, an auction or purchase), the participant may collaborate with fellow team members as described under step (1265) above when bidding on or purchasing commodities.
  • Under a customized format the participant may pre-plan (1285) according to the settings and rules of the league roster acquisition format. The participant may collaborate with fellow team members as described under step (1265) above.
  • Once a participant's franchise roster is set via the draft, the participant may adjust (1270) the roster via allowed transactions. Transactions may include for example, trades with other franchises, waiver wire or free agent acquisitions, purchases, etc. If the season has not begun (1275) the participant may collaborate with fellow team members as described under step (1265) above while adjusting their roster until the competition period begins (1290).
  • Referring now to FIG. 13 a screenshot of an exemplary franchise home page 1300 is shown. The franchise homepage 1300 in the state shown may be available once a franchise 250 has established its association with a franchise league 220 and a team league 225. In addition, the current state of elements shown in the franchise homepage 1300 also assumes that drafting of commodities 211 has been accomplished and competition has commenced. Otherwise, prior to any of these events, some of the elements shown may be missing or empty until these events occur. For the following description of franchise homepage 1300, it will be understood that competition has begun and a participant may interface with the franchise homepage elements shown as they would during a typical access of the online competition.
  • A notifications section 1305 may include notices. For example, a team captain 251 may post a message to the franchise 250 member providing advice that may be beneficial to the team 230.
  • The franchise homepage 1300 may include an active commodity section 1310 where commodities 211 may be selected as enabled and representing the franchise 250 in competition during a tracking period. For sake of illustration, only a single commodity 211 is called out however it will be understood that a plurality of commodities 211 may be enabled according to competition rules. In some embodiments, this may be called a “starting roster” or a “starting lineup”.
  • The franchise homepage 1300 may include a reserved commodity section 1320 where commodities 211 of the franchise 250 may be designated as disabled for competition during a tracking period. In some embodiments, this may be called the “bench”, “bench roster”, or “reserved roster”.
  • The franchise homepage 1300 may include a franchise overview section 1330, a team overview section 1340, and a communication section 1350. The franchise overview section 1330 may include information related to the franchise 250 name, the name of the franchise league 220 the franchise 250 is a member of, a franchise record, a franchise rank, and notice of the franchise's 250 next matchup within the franchise league 220. The team overview section 1340 may include information related to the name of the team 230 the franchise 250 is a member of, the team league 225 in which the team 230 is competing in, a team record, a team rank, and the team's 230 next matchup within the team league 225. The communication section 1350 may include fields to post correspondence to other franchises 250 common to the franchise 250's team 230, to a selected team 230 member, to the league the team 230 is participating in, and to the league the franchise is participating in. For example, the notice shown in the notifications section 1305 from the participant's team captain may have originated from the communication section 1350 accessible from the team captain's franchise home page.
  • Referring now to FIG. 14, a screenshot of an exemplary team page 1400 is shown. The team page 1400 may show elements associated with one of the teams 230. For example, the team page 1400 may include a team member section 1410 showing a listing of franchises 250 that are part of the team 230. The franchise league 220 associated with each franchise 250 may be shown.
  • A starting players section 1430 may include an aggregation of the commodities 211 selected by the different franchises 250 of the team 230 as eligible for play during the next scoring period. For example, in a fantasy sports based online competition, the commodities 211 may be professional players listed according to a position they play in their real life competitions. In some embodiments, because the different franchises 250 on the team 230 may be participating in different franchise leagues 220, each franchise's roster of commodities 211 may end up with common commodities. For example, two franchises 250 on the same team 230 may, during a commodity acquisition event (for example, a draft or a midseason acquisition) may acquire the same commodity 211 from separate pools of commodities.
  • It may be appreciated that the ability to acquire and manage diversification of desirable commodities among a plurality of franchises 250 may provide a number of flexible strategies within the online competition. The starting players section 1430 may show how many franchises 250 may be starting a common commodity 211 during the next scoring period. For example, four different franchises 250 may be starting a running back named Michael Matthews during the next scoring period. More than four franchises 250 in the team 230 may actually have Michael Matthews on their roster but a team decision may have been made to have only four of the franchises 250 start him. This could also be the result of four individuals making the same decision on their own.
  • A bench section 1440 may show a list of commodities 211 that franchises 250 have determined will not be eligible during the next scoring period. As may be seen, Michael Matthews is shown as benched by one of the franchises 250. Thus, Michael Matthews is common to five franchises of the team 230. However, Michael Matthews' upcoming performance is weighted to only 80% of his total potential scoring output.
  • To facilitate collaboration between team members, a team activity area 1420 may be provided. Actual communication is described above and shown in 1305. The team activity area 1420 may be restricted to members of a single team 230. Messages and events related to the team 230 may be posted. The decisions on which commodities 211 to be made eligible in the next scoring period may be coordinated through the communication area 1350.
  • Referring now to FIG. 15, a screenshot 1500 is shown of an exemplary scoring center 1550. The scoring center 1550 may be accessed during competition to compare performance among teams 230. In the exemplary embodiment shown, the competition format may be a head to head matchup between two teams 230 as shown. It will be understood that the exemplary scoring center 1550 shown may be applicable to a team competition where other competition format matchups are not illustrated yet may be adjusted to provide features relevant to the specific format. For example, a total points accumulated over a predetermined period (weekly, monthly, or seasonally) may be shown for all teams. A matchup section or “scoreboard” 1501 may show which teams 230 are playing each other along with their current scores.
  • A starting roster section 1505 may show which commodities 211 may be eligible for competition during the tracked performance period. In an exemplary embodiment, multiple franchises 250 (FIG. 2) within a common team may include a common commodity 211. For example, in a fantasy football setting, the starting roster section 1505 may show a quarterback named Bob Smith as being started by three different franchises 250 within the team 230. A count column 1520 may show how many of the franchises 250 are starting each commodity 211 for the team 230 during a given competition period. The performance of the commodity 211 may be tracked in a column 1525. When a commodity 211 is in play by multiple franchises 250, the number of franchises 250 starting that commodity may be multiplied by the commodity 211 performance to provide a total performance for that commodity which contributes to the total performance of the team 230. The total performance may be tracked in a total column 1530. For example, Bob Smith is started by three different franchises 250 on the Ball Hogs team 230. Those three different franchises 250 are competing in three separate franchise leagues 220. Bob Smith's performance during a tracked period resulted in 21 points. The 21 points were multiplied by 3 for a total of 63 points attributed to Bob Smith for the Ball Hogs team 230. A team total section 1535 may show the resulting aggregated performance totals for all commodities 211 made eligible for competition during the tracked period of performance.
  • The scoring center 1550 may include an ineligible list of commodities section 1510. The ineligible list of commodities section 1510 may show which commodities 211 were not selected by some or all franchises 250 in the team 230 to compete during the given tracked period of performance. For example, in fantasy football, the ineligible list of commodities section 1510 may show players who are benched by their franchises 250. The performance of benched players may also be tracked for participants' reference by employing the columns 1520, 1525, and 1535 described above.
  • Referring now to FIG. 16, a screenshot of an overview webpage 1600 of team league competition is shown according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. The webpage may include a standings area 1605 displaying the teams 230 in the team league 225. The standings area 1605 may identify the team captain 251 corresponding to each team 230. The teams 230 may be shown ranked according to their performance in the team league 225.
  • For example, a column 1610 may show each team's 230 record in the team league 225. In some embodiments, the team 230 with the best record may be determined the winner of the team league 225. The record may represent the team's 230 performance in for example, a head to head matchup competition. In a head to head matchup between teams 230, a winner may be determined by comparing the total performance tracked for each commodity 211 in a team 230 to the total performance tracked for each commodity 211 in an opposing team 230.
  • A column 1615 may display the total points accumulated by each team 230. In some embodiments, the team 230 with the highest point total may be determined the winner of the competition association 210.
  • A league leaders section 1620 may include a list of the franchises 250 leading their respective franchise league 220. The league leaders section 1620 may show which team 230 corresponds to the respective franchises 250.
  • A player stacks section may provide a sample view of which teams 230 own a given player the most. It may provide insight as to who owns a certain player within a franchise league 220 the most. This may not tell you every franchise that owns a given player as it is only showing which teams own the player the most. In one sense, it may show which team 230 is the most stacked with that player. As an example, if Michael Matthews is performing as the best running back in a competition and may represent an advantage in owning him, one may want to see which team has him the most to help gauge the strength of that team.
  • A league activity section 1650 may display transactions that have transpired in the team league 225. The league activity section 1650 may show a type of action (“waiver claim”, “player trade”, etc.) which was performed by a corresponding franchise 250 (and their associated team 230) and may show the date the transaction took place.
  • Referring now to FIG. 17, a method 1700 of tracking performance in an online competition is shown according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. This illustrates how to get franchise scores and team scores, but does not show how it would be used to determine winners or losers in individual and team matchups. From starting step (1701), a server may read (1705) the scoring rules for a league. The server may read (1710) franchise data for a team identifying the franchises within the team. The server may proceed (1715) to one of the franchise's file and read the data in its record. The server may read through the franchise's record and identify the commodities on the team's roster. The commodities may be, for example, players performing in a professional athletic endeavor. The server may retrieve (1725) statistics corresponding to the commodities being read. For example, the real-life performance of the commodities (players) on the franchise's roster may be retrieved from a third party source. The server may select (1730) one of the commodities from the franchise's roster for points evaluation. The commodity's points earned based on his or her performance in the athletic endeavor may be calculated (1735) according to a rules set. The server may determine (1740) whether the commodity is in the franchise's starting lineup of eligible players.
  • The server may determine (1745) if more commodities (players) are available on the franchise's roster for calculating points when the previous commodity is determined as not being in the starting lineup. The server may retrieve (1730) the next commodity on the franchise's roster when more commodities are determined as being available. Steps (1730) through (1740) may be repeated until a commodity eligible for competition during the scoring period is encountered.
  • When there are no more commodities (players) remaining on a franchise's roster, the server may determine (1750) if more franchises remain on the team to score. When more franchises remain, the method may repeat steps (1715) through (1750) until franchises for a team are exhausted.
  • The franchise's total points earned may be incremented (1755) by the points earned by the commodity in the starting lineup. The team's total score may be incremented (1760) by the points earned by the commodity in the starting lineup. Once the commodity's attributes have been recorded for the scoring period, the server may determine (1745) if more commodities (players) remain on the franchise's roster and may repeat steps (1730) through (1760) until all commodities (players) on the franchise's roster are exhausted. The server may aggregate (1765) the total points scored by each franchise in the team for a team total.
  • Referring now to FIG. 18, a method 1800 of game play in a competition is shown according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. The competition may run for a predetermined length of time. Game play in the competition may run the duration (or any part thereof) of an established season of a real life organization. For example, a fantasy football regular season may run concurrent with a professional football league's schedule (or in some embodiments, only some of the professional football league's regular season play). From starting point (1801), participants may submit (1802) a starting lineup of commodities. The server may begin tracking (1803) performance of the commodities and the lineups may be locked until a predetermined part of the season (a scoring period) is over. For example, performance for a football player may be tracked per real life game, which may be played week to week. Thus a player's performance may be locked for the duration of games played for a week until a subsequent week of eligibility arrives. The commodities' performance may be tracked (1804) for the scoring period. The commodities' statistics may be recorded (1805) and stored in data storage modules. League scoring rules may be applied (1810) to the commodities' statistics and the resulting scoring may be output to game center webpages. The scoring period may end (1815) when the real life basis for performance ends. Franchise scores may be calculated (1820) based on the commodities' performance. Team scores may be calculated (1825) by aggregating the franchise scores of each franchise in the team. The details of steps 1820 and 1825 may be shown for example in FIG. 17. The server may determine (1830) the competition type per league. Winners for the scoring period of leagues may depend on the competition type.
  • For example, in franchise leagues with head to head formats, the server may compare (1835) the franchise total points scored of two franchises scheduled to compete against each other during the scoring period. The franchise with the highest point total between the matched franchises may be the winner for the scoring period. The results of the head to head match up may be tallied as either a win, loss, or tie with respect to season long totals.
  • In a total points scoring format, the franchise with the highest total points of any franchise within the franchise league may be the winner for the scoring period. The points scored by each franchise may be incremented (1840) for a season total score of which the highest accumulated score for the season may be the franchise league winner.
  • In a salary cap format, each franchise's performance for the scoring period may be part of a season long running total which may be tallied (1845) for the scoring period. In salary cap leagues there may be two different ways of measuring franchise performance. One may be based on actual score. Another measure of franchise performance may correspond to a dollar value (the roster salary) of the franchise. In some embodiments there may be a winner for scoring performance and a winner for the franchise which has the most valuable roster at the end of the scoring period.
  • The scoring results of the scoring period may be output (1850) and stored with franchise performance being updated on the competition association webpage(s).
  • The server may determine (1855) the competition type among teams. Winners for the scoring period among teams may depend on the competition type.
  • For example, among team competitions with head to head formats, the server may compare (1860) the team total points scored of two teams scheduled to compete against each other during the scoring period. The team with the highest point total between the matched teams may be the winner for the scoring period. The results of the head to head match up may be tallied as either a win or a loss with respect to season long totals.
  • In a total points scoring format, the team with the highest total points of any team within the competition may be the winner for the scoring period. The points scored by each team may be incremented (1865) for a season total score of which the highest accumulated score for the season may be the league winner.
  • In a salary cap format, each team's performance for the scoring period may be part of a season long running total which may be tallied (1870) for the scoring period.
  • The scoring results of the scoring period may be output (1875) and stored with team performance being updated on the competition association webpage(s). The server may determine (1880) whether the regular season is over after a scoring period. The server may move (1890) the competition into a playoff period when the regular season ends. Otherwise, when the regular season continues, participants may collaborate (1890) with fellow team members for strategy and advice after a scoring period. Participants may adjust (1895) rosters and submit (1802) lineups before the next scoring period begins.
  • Referring now to FIG. 19, a method 1900 of providing a playoff event is shown according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. From starting point (1901), the server may determine (1910) playoff matchups based on the scoring results from the regular season. The server may determine (1920) whether the online competition includes a playoff portion of competition. In competitions without a playoff, the server may output (1930) the final standings from the regular season portion and winners may be determined based on the regular season final standings. For competitions with a playoff, the server may organize (1940) the franchises and/or teams into playoff match-ups. The server may determine (1950) playoff winners based on the same scoring format utilized during regular season play until a final winner is determined. The final results may be output (1930) and announced via the online competition webpage. Otherwise competition may continue (1960) under a playoff format.
  • Referring to FIG. 20, a database relationship diagram 2000 is shown according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. The database relationship diagram 2000 shows supporting tables and relationships required to setup and establish teams, team leagues, franchises, franchise leagues, and the related user/participants. Links are shown between leagues and teams that are linked to franchises/participants that compete in the association competition.
  • The database relationship diagram 2000 may include a Users table 2005. The Users table 2005 may represents a user registered with the site. When a user submits their information on the registration page, the input is entered as a record in this table.
  • A Franchises table 2015 may represent an individual franchise 250 managed by a single user that will become a member of a higher-level team 230. This franchise is the entity that will be assigned to a franchise league 220 for individual competition (drafting, setting lineups, trades, matching up against other franchises in the franchise league for which it is assigned, etc.) per standard fantasy play. A single user may create one or more franchises to manage and play. A single user may create one or more franchises that are on the same team. In some embodiments, a restriction may not allow a single team to be represented more than once in a given franchise league. In some embodiments an entire team may consist of franchises owned/managed by a single user.
  • After creating a user account at registration, the user may next create a franchise (for example as shown in FIG. 4) and the input may be saved as a new record in Franchises table 2015. Once the user has established an initial franchise they may be able to then pick a league 225 and a team 230 or create a new league and/or team. A Foreign Key (FK) in the Franchises table 2015 may include a “UserID” which may represent the unique identifier or Primary Key (PK) from the Users table 2005. This may show who owns/created the franchise. The Franchises table 2015 may have a one to many relationship where one user record may have one or more franchise records with the same UserID associated with it.
  • The database relationship diagram may include a FranchiseLeagues table 2010. The FranchiseLeagues table 2010 may represent a league of franchises 220 where individuals compete against other franchises. When a user creates a team, by default they may also create a franchise league if one does not already exist. A user who creates a franchise league may by default serve as the commissioner to name the franchise league, set a draft date, etc. The FranchiseLeagues table 2010 may include the foreign key “CreatedByID” which may represent the PK from the Users table 2010 and may show who initially created the league. The FranchiseLeagues table 2010 may include the foreign key “CreateTeamID” which may be a PK from the Teams table 2020 described below. The foreign key “CreateTeamID” may show which team established the franchise league. For example, referring back to FIG. 5, when inputs are saved (submitted), a record may be created in this table using franchise league inputs and a record is created in the Teams table 2020 using those inputs.
  • The Teams table 2020 may represent an individual team 230, grouping, or collection of franchises. This may be populated with data input (for example, data input by a user in FIG. 5) and represents the identity information of a team (e.g. name, description, logo, etc.). If a user chooses to create a new team instead of joining an existing team, this may be the next table populated. The FK “CreatedByID” may represent the PK from Users table 2005 and tells us who created the team.
  • A TeamLeagues table 2025 may represent a higher-level team league 225 or collection of teams than for example, the franchise league level. As described previously, a franchise league may be a competition where a franchise within each team represents their respective team in a league versus franchises in other teams in the online competition. This table may represent basic information (e.g. identity fields such as league name, description, etc.) collected as part of creating a new team league (as shown for example in FIG. 6). A record may be created here when data is input in FIG. 6. This table may be filled with corresponding inputs from the screen shown in FIG. 6. Other inputs from the screen shown in FIG. 6 may be saved to one or more separate tables, for example the TeamLeagueSeasons table 2030 as described below. Thus a league can be created one time and each subsequent year (season), other settings may be modified. After the initial season, additional seasons will add new records to the TeamLeagueSeasons table 2030 that will link to the TeamLeagues table 2025. The TeamLeagues table 2025 may use the FK “SportID” which may represent the PK from a sports table (not shown). Thus it may be appreciated that embodiments disclosed herein may be used for many different kinds of sports. A “CreatedByID” may represent the PK from the Users table 2005 which may show who created team the league.
  • The TeamLeagueSeasons table 2030 may represent settings for a given team league for a given season. This table may hold all of the primary high level league settings data input for example, in the screen shown in FIG. 6, such as a number of teams, size of teams, etc. The primary function here may associate a given team league with a specific season where all of the fields in this table reflect settings for the combination of team league and season. This table may be the primary source of records listed in for example, the screen shown in FIG. 4 under the ‘Select League’ function. This table may provide for a given team league (TeamLeagueID) within a season (SeasonID) the following settings may have been used and saved: SizeOfTeams, NumberOfTeams, etc. When a user returns for a subsequent season, a screen where they activate the league through input of seasonal data may allow for updates to these settings. In this case, a new TeamLeagueSeason record may be created and linked to their existing Team record. The FK “TeamLeagueID” may represent the PK from the TeamLeagues table 2025. This provides to a user the particular team league these settings are associated with. The FK “SeasonID” may represent the PK from the Seasons table 2050 which may indicate which season these settings are associated.
  • The TeamTeamLeagueSeasons table 2045 may associate a given team 230 with a team league season (the record of which may be included in the TeamLeagueSeasons table 2030). The TeamTeamLeagueSeasons table 2045 may hold the grouping of teams associated with a team league. This table may be the primary source of records for teams (for example, those teams displayed in FIG. 4 in the grid labeled ‘League of Champtions/Join’ and as shown in FIG. 6 in the grid labeled Teams′). This table associates for a given team league season (TeamLeagueSeasonID) and a given team (TeamID) one or more attributes, for example CaptainID, etc. This table provides the teams for a team league for a given season plus a few pieces of data specific to that combination (Captain, etc.). A record is created in this table when a user who is team captain joins a league with their team. The TeamTeamLeagueSeasons table 2045 may include the following FKs: “TeamLeagueSeasonID”—the PK from the TeamLeagueSeasons table 2030 that may indicate which team league and season a record applies to; “Team ID”—the PK from the Teams table 2020 which may indicate which team this record applies to; and “CaptainID”—the PK from the Users table 2005 which may indicate who the team captain is.
  • The TeamTeamLeagueSeasonFranchises table 2040 may associate a given franchise 250 with an entry in the TeamTeamLeagueSeasons table 2045. This table may contain the grouping of franchises associated with a team (for example, team members). This may be the primary source for records (for example, those shown in FIG. 5 in the grid of team members or shown in FIG. 14 in the area labeled ‘Team Members’). This table may provide attributes associated with a given team league for a given season, a given team, and a given franchise; for example “DraftPosition”, etc. A record may be created in this manner when a user joins a team with their franchise (for example when they click the ‘Join’ function shown in FIG. 4 next to a specific team). This may also be the source for data in FIG. 17 for step 1710. The TeamTeamLeagueSeasonFranchises table 2040 may include foreign keys:
  • “TeamTeamLeagueSeasonID”—the PK from TeamTeamLeagueSeason table 2045 which may provide a team, a season, and a team league value. “FranchiseID”—the PK from the Franchises table 2015 which may provide an association of a franchise with a team, a season, and a team league. “TeamLeagueSeasonFranchiseLeagueID”—the PK from the Team LeagueSeasonFranchiseLeague table 2035 which may provide which franchise league (competition league) a franchise is assigned to. This field may be created during the process of assigning franchises to franchise leagues. Initially, this field may be null until assignment of franchises is complete. When the process to assign franchises to their franchise league is run, this table may be loaded (for example at step 905 in FIG. 9).
  • The TeamLeagueSeasonFranchiseLeagues table 2035 may provide all of the franchise leagues for a given team league and season. After a user has created a team and established a franchise league, a record may also be created in this table. This table provides the records that may be used in step 910 of FIG. 9. All franchises in a given team league may be assigned to compete in one of the franchise leagues represented in this table. This table may also hold other fields relevant to these records such as who the commissioner is, etc. Foreign keys used in the table may include: “TeamLeagueSeasonID”—the PK from the TeamLeagueSeasons table 2030 which indicates the team league for a season; “FranchiseLeagueID”—the PK from the FranchiseLeagues table 2010 which may represent the franchise league that is associated with a given team league and season; and “CommissionerID”—the PK from the Users table 2005 which may represent the commissioner for a franchise league/team league/season association.
  • Referring now to FIG. 21, a matchup relationship diagram 2100 is shown according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. In general, matchup relationship diagram 2100 diagram illustrates a sample database/table setup showing how players (commodities) are associated with individual franchises (franchise rosters) which in turn gives all of the sources for points for both the individual franchises and their respective teams. This diagram may also include tables illustrating an example scoring format (head to head) where a schedule of matchups of franchise vs. franchise and team vs. team is implemented. The two tables used for this are named TeamLeagueSchedule table 2120 and FranchiseLeagueSchedule table 2160. If a different scoring format such as total points is used, these two tables would not necessarily be utilized. In general, this diagram represents the core tables and relationships showing the sources for rosters and lineups, matchups/schedules for both teams and franchises, and how they can be linked together to get scores for franchises and subsequently teams. The description for elements already described in FIG. 18 will not be repeated.
  • The ScoringPeriods table 2130 may represent a unit used to mark the boundary for a lineup. In football, this would correspond for example, to a week. If racing were the underlying competition being tracked, these records would correspond to a given race or a weekend of racing. Foreign keys may include: “ScoringPeriodDefinitionID”, which may represent the PK from a table not shown here that would contain a record representing a week, race, weekend, etc. and “SeasonID” which may represent the PK from the Seasons table 2150.
  • The TeamLeagueSchedule table 2120 is an exemplary table used as a source for matchups. For example, in a head to head format, the table 2120 may define the schedule and/or matchups for higher-level teams. Via the link to the TeamLeagueSeasonTeams table 2110, this table provides for a given team league and season, which team is matched up against another team for a given scoring period. The terms Home and Away are used in the naming convention here, but could be called Team1, Team2, etc. This is one table that may be populated when a user visits the ‘Schedules’ page linked from the ‘Settings’ items at the top of FIG. 6. This is also the table used to determine/display the two teams matched up against each other in FIG. 15. A foreign key used by table 2120 may include the “ScoringPeriodID” which may represent the PK from the ScoringPeriods table 2130 indicating which scoring period the matchup applies to. A different scoring format from head to head such as rotisserie or pool play would have a different structure for matchups and would implement a different table or tables. The foreign key “HomeTeamID/AwayTeamID” may be the PK from the TeamLeagueSeasonTeams table 2110. This table links back to the specific team league and team(s) for the matchup.
  • The FranchiseLeagueSchedule table 2160 may be another table populated when a user visits the ‘Schedules’ page linked from the ‘Settings’ items at the top of FIG. 7. This table is similar to the TeamLeagueSchedule table 2120 except this tells us which franchises are matched up for a given season, scoring period, and franchise league within a given team league. For this invention, the Home/Away Team fields are linking to a table (TeamTeamLeagueSeasonFranchises) setup to tell us the franchises & their respective franchise leagues AND the teams and respective team leagues. The foreign key “ScoringPeriodID” as defined in the table TeamLeagueSchedule 2160 maybe used. The foreign key “HomeFranchiseID/AwayFranchiseID” which may be the PK from the TeamTeamLeagueSeasonFranchises table 2140 may link back to a specific franchise league and franchise and subsequently teams and team leagues.
  • The Players table 2170 may be a player pool representing the individual commodities representing for example real-life players in a sporting competition. In football there would be a record for, the name of a real-life player. This table contains fields or attributes describing players such as their position, league (e.g. NFL, MLB, NBA, etc.), teams, numbers, height, weight, etc. When users conduct transactions, for example, drafting or making waiver wire/free agent transactions, this is the table providing the list or source of players.
  • The TeamTeamLeagueSeasonFranchisePlayers table 2180 may provide the roster associated with a given individual franchise. This table may link to two other tables that essentially indicate the commodities (players) for a given franchise in a specific franchise league on a specific team within a specific team league. When a real-life player is acquired via draft, trade, free-agent pickup, etc. (within their individual franchise leagues) a record is created here. When a player is dropped or traded away a record here could be deleted. The foreign key “TeamTeamLeagueSeasonFranchiseID” may be the PK from the TeamTeamLeagueSeasonFranchises table 2140 that indicates which franchise (league, season, etc.) a record applies to. The foreign key “PlayerID” may be the PK from the Players table 2170 that tells us which real-life player (commodity) is associated with the entry.
  • The FranchiseLineup table 2150 may indicate for a given franchise and commodity on their roster and scoring period, whether or not the commodity is active (starting) or inactive (benched). This is the table used to populate the grids labeled ‘Starting Lineup’ and ‘Bench’ shown in FIG. 13. Using a series of database ‘Joins’ and ‘Where’ clauses, this may be the lowest or last table in the series of lookups that may be required to aggregate all of the active commodities contributing to both the individual franchise competition and to the team competition. The aggregation of these records may provide the source of players displayed in the player grids shown in FIGS. 13, 14, 15 and 16. The foreign key “TeamTeamLeagueSeasonFranchisePlayerID” may be the PK from the TeamTeamLeagueSeasonFranchisePlayers table 2180 indicating which player and subsequently which franchise, franchise league, etc. is associated with the lineup. The foreign key ScoringPeriodID may be the PK from the ScoringPeriods table 2130 indicating the scoring period (week, race, etc.). The foreign key “PlayerLineupStatusID” may be the PK from a table not shown here that contains commodity statuses such as active (starting), inactive (benched), etc.
  • The PlayerStatistics table 2190 may represent the real-life performance stats for a given scoring period. This may be the table populated by reading in stats from an external statistics provider. This table may contain records that indicate the real life performance of a commodity. The combined records from this table along with records in the FranchiseLineup table 2150 may be used to provide the scores for individual franchises and teams. This may be displayed in the ‘points’ field and the ‘total’ field in FIG. 15. It may also contribute to the ‘avg’ field and ‘tot pts’ field shown in FIG. 13. The foreign key “PlayerID” may represent the PK from the Players table 2170 and indicates which player a statistic applies to. The foreign key “ScoringPeriodID” may be the PK from the ScoringPeriods table 2130 which may indicate which scoring period (week, race, etc.) a statistic applies to. The foreign key “ScoringStatisticsID” may be the PK from a table not shown here. This foreign key may indicate if the statistic is for a particular type of statistic, for example, a touchdown, a home run, a goal, a sack, etc.
  • It should be understood, of course, that the foregoing relates to exemplary embodiments of the invention and that modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the following claims.

Claims (20)

  1. 1. A computer program product for providing an online competition, the computer program product comprising a non-transitory computer readable storage medium having computer readable program code embodied therewith, the computer readable program code including instructions which when executed by a processor:
    provide a website configured to host the online competition; and
    organize a group of teams together into a team league wherein teams in the group of teams compete against one another in the online competition on the website, wherein
    each team within the group of teams includes a plurality of franchises, wherein at least two franchises within each team correspond to at least two different users,
    each franchise comprising individually performing commodities performing within a same competition type outside of the on-line competition, and
    each franchise within each team represents their respective team in a franchise league versus franchises that are members of other teams in the group of teams in the online competition.
  2. 2. The computer program product of claim 1, the computer readable program code configured to:
    track performance of each franchise in their respective franchise league;
    aggregate the performance of each franchise within respective teams as a team performance total for each team in the group of teams; and
    determine a winner of the online competition based on the team performance total of each team in the group of teams.
  3. 3. The computer program product of claim 2, wherein the performance of each franchise within a first one of the teams in the group of teams is tracked according to a scoring system that differs from the performance of each franchise within a second one of the teams in the group of teams.
  4. 4. The computer program product of claim 2, wherein the performance of each franchise is based on a performance of the individually performing commodities.
  5. 5. The computer program product of claim 4, wherein a plurality of franchises within a common team include a common commodity.
  6. 6. The computer program product of claim 1, the computer readable program code configured to provide a team communication area on the website wherein communication within the team communication area is restricted to franchises within a common team in the group of teams.
  7. 7. The computer program product of claim 1, wherein the online competition is a fantasy sports competition.
  8. 8. The computer program product of claim 1, the computer readable program code configured to provide a platform to exchange franchises between a plurality of teams in the group of teams.
  9. 9. A server, comprising:
    a storage module; and
    a processor configured to:
    provide a website configured to host an online fantasy competition;
    organize on the website a team league including a plurality of teams of franchises wherein a performance of each team within the plurality of teams of franchises is tracked;
    organize on the website, a plurality of franchise leagues comprising respectively a plurality of franchises comprising individually performing commodities wherein
    each franchise is a member of a team of franchises, the team of franchises comprising at least two different franchises corresponding to at least two different users, grouped together from the plurality of franchises, and
    each franchise within each team represents their respective team in each franchise's respective franchise league versus franchises that are members of other teams from the team league; and
    provide a platform to exchange the individually performing commodities across the plurality of teams of franchises.
  10. 10. The server of claim 9, wherein the processor is configured to:
    track performance of the individually performing commodities of each franchise within each team as a performance of each franchise;
    aggregate the performance of each franchise within respective teams of franchises as a team performance total for each team of franchises; and
    determine a winner of the online fantasy competition based on the team performance total of each team of franchises.
  11. 11. The server of claim 10, wherein the performance of each franchise within a first one of the team of franchises is tracked according to a scoring system that differs from the performance of each franchise within a second one of the team of franchises.
  12. 12. The server of claim 10, wherein the processor is configured to determine a winner of each franchise league based on the performance of each franchise in respective franchises leagues.
  13. 13. The server of claim 9, wherein the individually performing commodities are athletes competing in a professional sports organization.
  14. 14. The server of claim 9, wherein a plurality of franchises within a common team of franchises include a common individually performing commodity.
  15. 15. The server of claim 9, wherein the processor is configured to provide a team communication area on the website wherein communication within the team communication area is restricted to franchises within a common team.
  16. 16. A method of providing an online competition, comprising:
    providing a website configured to host the online competition;
    organizing on the website a team league including a plurality of teams of franchises wherein a performance of each team within the plurality of teams of franchises is tracked;
    organizing on the website, a plurality of franchise leagues comprising respectively a plurality of franchises comprising individually performing commodities performing within a same sport, wherein
    each franchise is a member of one of the teams of franchises grouped together from the plurality of franchises, wherein each team comprises at least two franchises controlled by at least two different users, and
    each franchise within each team represents their respective team in each franchise's respective league; and
    determining a performance of each team of franchises based on a performance of individual franchises within respective teams.
  17. 17. The method of claim 16, including tracking a performance of the individually performing commodities, wherein the performance of the individually performing commodities contributes toward a league scoring system and a team scoring system.
  18. 18. The method of claim 16, wherein franchises within each team are enabled to share a common individually performing commodity.
  19. 19. The method of claim 16, wherein the performance of each franchise within a first of the team of franchises is tracked according to a scoring system that differs from the performance of each franchise within a second of the team of franchises.
  20. 20. The method of claim 16, including providing a platform to exchange franchises between a plurality of teams of franchises.
US13706921 2012-12-06 2012-12-06 Online commodity competition Abandoned US20140162786A1 (en)

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US20140287819A1 (en) * 2013-03-15 2014-09-25 Iconic Worldwide Gaming Limited Method, apparatus, and computer-readable media for enabling real-time competition having an entertaining experience based on commodities or currencies
US9230403B2 (en) * 2013-03-15 2016-01-05 Iconic Worldwide Gaming Limited Method, apparatus, and computer-readable media for enabling real-time competition based on live events
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