Updated: Nov 11, 2021
They say the early bird gets the worm, but Phillip Bevis proved that good things do come to those who show up really, really, really late. Ultimate Fantasy League Baseball’s franchise auction was a smashing success with all 30 franchises selling for almost $160,000 USD worth of Score Coin (SCO) thanks to furious bidding wars and a record-setting 66 Extra Inning extensions during Sunday’s dramatic finale. Bevis came out on top as the highest bidder at $11,000 USD, earning the right to pick first in every round of the 26-round Veteran Player Draft in March.
“This weekend was definitely a rollercoaster of an experience. On Friday I had an ownership group ready to go and plans to just stick in the middle of the pack, which I was OK with,” said Bevis, who is already involved on the management side with UFAFL, UFBA and AFLL franchises.
When his ownership group decided against bidding on Friday, Bevis was disappointed, but he wasn’t ready to give up on the venture.
“I went on a weekend hunt for a renewed ownership group. Got pretty discouraged down to the last day. The hunt lasted until less than 12 hours left in the auction,” said Bevis, recounting his wild ride. “I was contacted by a very crypto-minded individual by the name of Zachary Sedlar, who has been looking to get into the UFFS platform from the broader Zilliqa community. We chatted for quite a while, worked a deal.”
But it was quite the different strategy for Bevis and his new partner, compared to the one his previous group had planned.
“We made the decision if we were going to do it, we were going to do it right and make a splash. As they said in the live show, we called our shot from the get-go. We decided to wait for the last 10 minutes before making a bid and jumping in at the top. Didn’t exactly expect the Extra Innings battle we got but again we called our shot and decided we were taking it home.”
All of this was unfolding during a live show that was very different than the production that kicked off the auction on Friday night, when potential franchise owners were dipping their toes in the pool. Sunday’s finale was full of suspense and exciting twists as franchises made their moves up the leaderboard and down to the wire.
“It was quite energizing to be on the set giving the play by play of the auction, even on Friday night when things started, but certainly on Sunday with 66 Extra Innings — there were so many, I missed a bunch while on the air,” said Head of Baseball for UFF Sports Dean Millard, who hosted the auction festivities. “And not only the battle between the Top 3, but then CFL Hall of Famer Nik Lewis drops in during the 57th Extra Inning with his first bid and it’s $8,000? That almost brought the house down!”
In total, the 30 franchises sold for $158,600 USD. The top bid when Extra Innings started was $5,000 USD and the first five-figure bid came in the 61st Extra Inning. Some extensions were instant but the clock reached as low as 15 seconds before extending at one point, as the franchises refused to give up their pursuit of a desired draft position.
The UFF Sports community also welcomed in several new ownership groups to UFLB, which brings in new minds, passion, and some big names.
The Wade Beavers ownership group, which finished third in the bidding at $9,100 USD includes 2006 American League MVP Justin Morneau and fellow Canadian and former teammate with the Minnesota Twins Corey Koskie, who patrolled third base for nine MLB seasons. Combined, they hit 371 career home runs in more than 2,500 MLB games.
Circa Sports Trout sat quietly in the back half of the auction for most of Sunday but swam up the leaderboard to finish fifth when all was said and done — purchasing a franchise and the 5th overall pick in every round for $6,700 USD, while putting Derek Stevens back in the baseball owners’ box. The Circa Resort & Casino owner in Las Vegas at one time owned the Las Vegas 51s AAA baseball team.
“I was the owner of the 51s when we were the AAA affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, four years as the AAA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays and one year with the New York Mets,” said Stevens, who joined the franchise auction kickoff show on Friday night. “I sold the team because I bought another casino … but I’ve always been a baseball fan and I love professional baseball, and I got a little taste of professional fantasy when we got into the UFAFL.
“We’ve got the Circa Sports Trout, which I have to say is the only undefeated team in the UFAFL, so we hope to bring Circa Sports into the baseball league,” added Stevens.
Unfortunately, not everyone was able to get in with the demand exceeding the supply but that door isn’t necessarily closed either. There are always opportunities within the UFFS ecosystem and many will arise as UFLB progresses towards opening day on March 31, 2022.
“I feel bad for the bidders who ended up on the outside, but there may be franchises looking for investors, and I know several are looking for GMs, so they might still be able to get involved,” said Millard, who will also be the Commissioner for UFLB. “I couldn’t be more pleased with how things went this weekend, from Friday night when Derek joined us just before the bidding started, right through the end on Sunday. We had excitement, movement, late drama. … A lot of people put a massive amount of work into this, and I think we built a pretty good model. I can’t wait to be on the other side of one of these in another sport and get in the bidding.”
The next chance for fantasy sports fans to bid on a franchise is the upcoming Ultimate Fantasy World Juniors (UFWJ) franchise auction on November 20-21. And if the UFLB auction was any indication, there could be some crossover owners. Baseball is the fourth sport UFFS has launched and there are now four owners or ownership groups in all four. Seven Seas Blockchain Sports, 5 Eyes Entertainment Group, CanWest Fantasy Sports, and Ian Constable — part of the Bisons Baseball group — who also has ownership in UFHL, UFAFL and UFBA.
As for the newest franchise owners in UFLB, they are busy making payment plans so they can submit their branding and get to work on their name and logos. Full payment is required before anything can be submitted for approval. Offseason meetings will take place in January once all franchises have paid, followed by the Top Prospects Auction in February and the Veteran Player Draft in March.