SportsData’s Management Team
Rob Phythian, Founder and President
As co-founder and CEO of SportsData, Rob is responsible for the business leadership of the company, including corporate operations, business development and strategic partnerships. Prior to SportsData, Rob was the President of OPEN Sports, a company that develops unique fantasy sports applications. In 2008 OPEN Sports became Fox Sports’ exclusive provider of games for FOXSports.com. In the late 1990’s Rob founded Fanball.com, the largest pure play fantasy sports website on the net. In addition to building Fanball into the largest fantasy destination site, Rob struck several key third-party relationships for Fanball that included major deals with Turner Sports Interactive and AOL. Fanball also powered all of the fantasy games for NASCAR.com and PGATour.com from 2001-07. In 2005, Fanball was sold to FUN Technologies, a publicly-traded company. Rob stayed with FUN after the sale and was promoted to President of the sports division. From 1994-98, Rob was the founder and owner of the first weekly fantasy sports magazine, Fantasy Football Weekly. In just three years of publication, FFW grew to a circulation of over 500,000 and garnered one of the highest sell-through rates of all sports titles in the industry. Rob is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
Dave Abbott, Founder and CTO
Dave is an entrepreneurial executive with more than 20 years of global technology experience building and scaling high volume/high availability SaaS applications. Most recently, he was the Vice President of Technology for Irdeto, Inc., a $250 million global leader in digital asset security and monetization solutions where he was responsible for Product Development and Network Operations. Dave’s responsibilities included the monetization and online security of high profile sporting events on broadcast, broadband and mobile platforms for leading broadcasters world wide. Prior to Irdeto, Dave spent 11 years with Internet Broadcasting (IB) as its founding CTO overseeing all technical operations including Product Development, Professional Services, IT and Network Operations. IB hosted and operated more than 80 award-winning local broadcast news properties, making it the largest local news provider in the world serving more than 50 million visitors and 750 million page views per month. A notable accomplishment while with IB, was Dave’s leadership in the delivery of a complete turnkey Web hosting, content creation and on-venue staffing solution for www.NBCOlympics.com for the 2004 Athens and 2006 Torino Olympic Games. Both games were punctuated by 100 percent availability and impressive profitability.
Tom Masterman, VP of Business Development
Tom has spent over a decade developing business strategies and new products for media and technology companies. Most recently, Tom lead the launch of Dialogue Earth, a start-up media company at the University of Minnesota, where he developed cutting edge data analysis and video content creation products. Before that, he spent nine years at Internet Broadcasting, a firm producing websites for media ownership groups including Hearst Television, Post-Newsweek, McGraw-Hill and NBC Universal. As Director of Research & Metrics, he built a team of researchers and created analytics tools and services for a network of television station sites, including NBCOlympics.com. Prior to that position, Tom co-created a video production department. He started his career at ABC affiliate WCVB-TV, where he was an Emmy nominated TV producer. Tom holds a communication degree from Boston College and a MBA from the University of Minnesota.
Jeff Stout, Chief Engineer
Jeff is a software engineer with 20+ years experience in the software industry. He has spent the last decade years specializing in high volume, high reliability website delivery. Before SportsData,, he was principal engineer for Internet Broadcasting, the leading provider of local websites, content and advertising revenue solutions to the world’s largest and most successful media companies. Jeff was the lead API designer for IB’s industry leading CMS, ibPublish. The APIs are based on a service oriented architecture initially targeted for Amazon’s EC2 cloud and use technologies such as the NoSQL database mongoDB, Jersey running on the JavaVM, and Sinatra running on the JRubyVM. Jeff has also been involved with other IB projects including Slantly.com. He was lead designer for the website delivery engine used for NBCWeatherPlus.com, NBCOlympics.com and more than 80 television stations owned by NBC, Hearst and Cox Media Group. Prior to IB, Jeff worked at MCC (CIGNA) Behavior Care and spent several years at Cray Research, Inc.
Alex Portnov, Senior Software Engineer
Alex is a senior level software engineer/team lead with 15+ years of experience in software development for variety of industries. He is a strong proponent of Agile software development with emphases on delivering quality software in a timely manner. Prior to SportsData, Alex was a senior software engineer for Digital River Inc., a global leader in e-commerce solutions. He worked as a senior member of the service oriented architecture infrastructure and architecture team responsible for implementing a next generation e-commerce platform, based on SOA running on a private cloud. His area of expertise is in dynamic and functional languages, such as Ruby and Erlang, as well as distributed computing and NoSQL databases. Prior to Digital River, Alex spent three years with Internet Broadcasting working as a lead developer of the backend infrastructure for NBCSports.com and Slantly.com.
Bo Mitchell, VP of Content
Bo has a background in sports radio and television news and has been a professional sportswriter, editor and publisher for nearly 20 years. His writing has appeared on numerous sites, including: ESPN.com, Yahoo.com, MSN.com, FOXSports.com, FoxSportsNorth.com, AOL.com, and Fanball.com, where he managed their sports content for more than a decade. Bo’s television experience includes Assistant Producer of the Denny Green Show for KARE in the Twin Cities and Assignment Editor and Web Site Producer for KSTP in the Twin Cities. Bo worked for KFAN sports radio in the Twin Cities as a Producer for several years in the early 1990s and has served as a producer and, more recently, long-time co-host for the FAN Radio network’s popular “Fantasy Football Weekly” radio show since its beginnings in 1994. A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, he joined SportsData in 2011 as the Vice President of Content following a stint at FOXSportsNorth.com, where he covered the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Twins. Bo still covers the Vikings for StarTribune.com as a contributing writer to their VikesCentric blog. Bo is a graduate of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN and holds a degree in Political Science and History.
Patrick Donnelly, Senior Editor
Patrick has covered sports as a reporter, columnist and editor for the past 15 years for such outlets as MLB.com, The Associated Press, Blue Ribbon Sports Media Group and Viking Update magazine. Most recently he was the Digital Content Manager for FOX Sports North and FOX Sports Wisconsin. A former high school English teacher and baseball coach, Patrick also has worked as a writer and editor for three international Fortune 500 corporations and is the co-author of The Student-Athlete’s College Recruitment Guide (Ferguson Publishing, 2009).