Ottoneu Fantasy Baseball price changes in 2019


This is my first year of Ottoneu, and I have had my frustrations, but overall I have to say Niv and the guys are doing a great job. I cant imagine that going from $10 to $20 for something as enjoyable as fantasy baseball can seriously be a deal breaker. There are always costs associated with maintaining websites, especially ones that host this much data. Lets give the guys a break.


This is pretty much the best post written on this community site.


I agree entirely


Not going to lie, I grumbled a bit on reading this news. But I’m glad I scrolled down to Niv’s defense of not using advertising. I love that this site that I come back to so often doesn’t have any ads. I’ll happily pay $20 a year to keep it that way


I don’t like the new payouts. Your banking too much for yourself. $250-$300 per league going to you is way too much. Doubling the fee for a non-payout league is ridiculous as well. I would love to see that true cost breakdown you claim. I do like the change to renew a team before draft. I think the renewal should be due before arbitration deadline instead of keeper deadline. Too many teams that don’t plan on returning skip arbitration. If fees were due before arbitration deadline, league would have committed owners making arbitration and better trading during the offseason. I also think top three teams should get paid. Third place deserves at least money back. Second place should get entry fee plus a small gain back, and first paid the most. Ottoneu profit needs to be reduced to make that happen. Changes should not take place until 2020 at earliest. Some owners have built team not knowing about price changes. There should be more notice for those owners that have planned for future. I won’t be back next season if these payouts and ridiculously high increases remain in the plans. Lose the greed Niv. Shame on you.


People moaning about a $10 increase in non-prize leagues can just take one day off a year from their double capachino mocha latte to fund it. Its hard to imagine that is really a serious complaint. If there is another site where the owner/programmer responds directly to the user and makes frequent changes in response to requests at the level that Niv does, I have yet to find it. The site is a labor of love for him and I don’t know how he could make anything more than a minimal profit, if that.

Re: taking over a bad team in a $50 league and having no shot at getting your money back unless you finish at least second, I feel your pain. Maybe there could be commissioner options to have re-draft leagues, or limit on number of keepers, or maximum salary $ kept, etc at that (or any) price point. There are stacked teams that arbitration doesn’t have much effect on thereby relegating 7 or 8 teams in some leagues to have no chance at prize money in consecutive seasons. So why take over a bad team in a prize league unless you just want a multi-season challenge and the money is irrelevant.

I hope those of us who enjoy what Ottoneu is providing give some thought about what it takes for a one man operation to offer, maintain, and improve while at the same time trying to make it financially viable. Personally I’m amazed its sustainable, but maybe that’s just me.


There’s a lot to unpack here, but I want to focus on this statement and sum things up after that below:

Being that ottoneu players are generally analytically savvy math types, I’m surprised no one has seen fit to dispute this statement yet. Going off the new pricing schedule (which, by the way, bad form on trying to disappear the old one… Google caches pretty much everything these days) and extrapolating out to the $100 and $250 fee tiers, the $20 per team goal does not hold. If we’re calling the fees minus prizes per team value to you $20 or thereabouts, then that puts $100 leagues at $25 and $250 at $62.50 (!!!). That’s a lot of administrative fees!

I think you need to decide if you are going to be a game operator or if this is going to be some sort of clubhouse membership. When you announced that you were going to work on ottoneu full time I stuck around assuming we’d soon see it run as a proper game with appropriate rakes. By deciding to preserve the “no prize” leagues (how many of these leagues actually administer a side pot via some electronic payment processor though?) at the expense of a mechanism (i.e. skin in the game via prizes) that works far better at ensuring fun competitive leagues than any marketing you can conceive, then you’re going to lose players like me.

I understand that the majority of leagues are no prize because it’s cheap. It’s a paying customer base though, and therefore not to be easily discounted. However, I’d be careful in deciding to cater to those players over the ones who are here and already willing to meet de facto rakes in order to have a reliable and fun prize-based game platform with dynasty play.


Strongly agree with this statement.


My current league has the new structure in rules for $50 league. No 3rd place payout. Why?


I would definitely be more in favor of adding $10 to the entry fee rather than cutting and/or changing the payout structure


It seems as if it all boils down to whether people think Niv should be compensated a nominal amount above cost or should he be able to make a living from the site.


This is a long thread, so maybe I missed it, but I haven’t seen anybody go deep on the difference between cost per participation in Ottoneu as a platform and the cost per league/team.

This season I moved all my fantasy play to Ottoneu and am currently running 3 teams. With the cost increase I’ll probably decrease the number of leagues I am in next season, though still stay with Ottoneu. I’ll stay because the quality of player in the average league here is higher than the quality of the player in your Yahoo, CBS Sports, etc. leagues.

The platform is fine (and I’ve seen the growth and know the potential!), but even with additional resources that may come with price increases will have a hard time competing feature to feature with platforms that have corporate backing/advertising.

The other players are the real magic of Ottoneu, and any pricing structure should be aimed at a) decreasing the barrier of entry for new players and b) increasing the participation of existing players. I believe the new price structure fails on both counts by increasing the commitment required for new players while simultaneously decreasing the incentive for existing players to participate in multiple leagues.

I’d recommend something like a membership model where each manager pays a fee to “join” Ottoneu each season and then a smaller per team fee for each additional league you play in. I don’t have all the data available to you on your user base, but something like a $20/annual fee for membership (with discounts for first year players?) + maintaining the existing $10/year/team seems like it could close the gap you mention, while alleviating some the issues others have brought up above.

Heck, I’m so committed to Ottoneu I’d even be willing to pay something like a larger up front “lifetime access” fee to help build out the platform, while continuing with a per team/per year pricing closer to the existing model.


What came first the chicken or the egg?

Ottoneu came first, and now there is a really advanced fantasy baseball community full of really committed managers. I could care less about the payout, I’m here for the experience. Fantasy baseball is my hobby, and Ottoneu provides layers that don’t exist elsewhere. Good things cost money, in this case very little money…

Anybody complaining about a lack of site improvements is drunk. Spend 10 minutes in the community forums and you’ll realize how silly your comments are. Site responses to issues are almost immediate and come with context, which is pretty unheard of! There are continual discussions relating to potential site improvements, which are implemented almost daily.


There haven’t been any real feature enhancements or additions lately outside of adding football. Nothing has improved on the mobile side or wihbut auctions which have been begged for at this point for years.

This is an example of a really inaccurate opinion. If you “liked” it your being reactionary and haven’t really done your research.

I’m probably understating, but there have probably been at least a hundred site/mobile functionality changes this season (my first on Ottoneu). Please visit the community forums.

My personal hunch: Those of you making similar complaints only visited this thread, and subsequently the community forums, because Niv hyperlinked it to the top of the team pages. If you visited the forums regularly, you wouldn’t be complaining…


I really don’t like the removal of prizes for 3rd place in the $50 Tier. It’ll exacerbate the problem of teams in the lead ending up with $800 rosters. I love being able to shoot for 2nd/3rd if I don’t feel like selling the farm.


I understand you’re trying to make the right financial decision, and that you want to make a living. But I’ll just share my honest opinion: I mostly play free fantasy baseball, with the exception of my one $50 ottoneu league. At the current structure, the rake seems pretty fair to me. But I doubt I’ll continue with the updated rates. I guess if my league were to switch to the $100 structure that would be ok, but the idea of having barely half of the fees get paid out in prizes is very unappealing.


If the base price is doubling I think there needs to be a corresponding change in customization. I brought a league over, this year, because its roughly the same price as CBS but we liked the format. We gave up some of the things we liked but that was fine. Going forward I feel like I should be able to pick the amount of playoff teams, starting pitchers per day, etc.

The price increase won’t necessarily keep my league for leaving but the combination of the price hike and a lack of control most likely will.


Sorry, but I think you are contradicting yourself when you say it’s a smart move but immediately say in the next sentence you are going to pare down your leagues. I would imagine there are a lot of people that will be reducing or flat out leaving the Ottoneu platform due to the large rake increase. Not sure how less revenue is a smart move.


I understand the need for you to sustain the site. I’m assuming you know that a lot of people who play in the basic, non-payout leagues, such as myself, will be leaving, and you are willing to accept those losses. Some say another $10 per year is no big deal, and that’s essentially true. However, I’ve already been questioning myself for paying $9.99 annually, when Yahoo is free and offers a much better user experience than Ottoneu. I got in originally because I love Fangraphs, and I kept reading about Ottoneu there, which gave it some allure. I also wanted to try something different, and the Classic 4x4 league sounded like a nice challenge. The keeper aspect kept me coming back. But doubling the fee is too much for me. $20 may not seem like all that much, but it does have value, and it’s more value than I can justify paying for something I can get somewhere else for free. So, it’ll be so long and good luck to you, Ottoneu. It’s been fun!


With all due respect, Ottoneu will never be “the best fantasy sports experience” until every place in the standings matters. Finishing third should be better than finishing fourth. Finishing fifth should be better than finishing sixth. Finishing ninth should be more rewarding than finishing tenth, and nothing should be worse than finishing dead last. Finishing dead last should suck. Until such a mechanism is incorporated as an option into the game structure (as opposed to forcing leagues to attempt haphazard self-implementation via arb coupons and the like), the problems with rampant tanking and Dog Days of August disengagement will continue leading to high rates of turnover and competitors balking at increasing fees. Short-sighted calls for an even more top-heavy reward structure are woefully misguided and off the mark. Give every competitor a reason to care every day of the competition with the otherwise great format in place and virtually any admistrative fee will be worth it.