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 This Site Makes Sport of Investing

  by Mike Scott (

 Haven't you ever wanted to invest in the stock market for fun? After all you could make some off-the-wall stock purchases. But if you aren't an active investor, you may not be familiar with some of the more popular public companies traded on the various exchanges.

 If you're a sports fan and want to get a taste of what the stock market is like, I have a Web site for you: Wall Street Sports.

 Has your favorite NFL running back been traded to your favorite NFL team? Heck, buy 2,000 shares of him, or virtually any other professional athlete of note in professional football, basketball, baseball, hockey, golf or NASCAR driving.

 All you have to do is visit the Web site, enter your pertinent information and you are presented with a cool $1 million (of pretend money) and away you trade. Keep in mind there is a modest fee (again in pretend money) for every transaction you make, so load up on as many shares as possible.

The value of each athlete's stock rises or falls based on two main factors: 1) his performance on the field, court, ice surface, course or track of battle; and 2) his demand among other Wall Street Sports investors, who are quickly rising toward the 400,000 mark.

 The prices of the stocks are updated daily and seem fairly accurate. Initial Product Offerings (IPOs) are released as demand dictates, so new athletes are constantly appearing as available stocks.

 Further adding to the fun are the columns guest writers contribute. The writers tend to analyze various athletes, leagues or divisions and what the trends are. They also forecast what to look for in the coming months, so after a while you feel as if you are really playing the stock market.

 You can also establish a league that you and your friends join exclusively, complete with a protected password. Whether you bet a few bucks on the side is up to you, but at the very least bragging rights are at stake. And you can see what your competition is up to by checking the recent moves of your league opponents.

 And every once in a while a stock split occurs, making your favorite athlete even more valuable in the long run. Notable blue-chippers in the various sports are: Ken Griffey Jr. (probably the most profitable stock since the site was introduced), Pedro Martinez, Brett Favre, Emmitt Smith, Shaquille O'Neal, Allen Iverson, Jaromir Jagr and Jeff Gordon. For those of you who prefer college sports, you can also buy and sell stock of your favorite college football team (individual athletes in college are not mentioned, the NCAA would have a fit).

 New features are added monthly. You can also earn free WSS (Wall Street Sports) dollars by visiting various Web sites and buying products offered by site advertisers. After all, the programmers want to make a buck or two.

 A few months ago, Wall Street Sports formed a partnership with Sandbox Entertainmentthat also offers many Web gaming activities, many of which are sports related. Through Sandbox, fantasy sports geeks can build teams of individual players in various professional sports free or for a fee (and subsequent prize money).

  What are the drawbacks to Wall Street Sports? If you are a competitive person by nature, WSS really isn't much fun unless you join a league with friends. If you compete only against every other portfolio holder on the site, you'll never get above the top 10%. Those are the people who have been with WSS from the beginning and saw their Griffey stock deliver a 13-1 split last year.

 Mike Scott lives in Troy, Michigan, and works full-time in marketing communications. He also is a freelance writer for area newspapers and magazines.



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