Peter Schoenke, Class of 2008

IB is celebrating 20 years of the 40 Under 40 in 2020, and will be catching up with past recipients to see what they’ve been up to since they were honored. This week features Peter Schoenke, president, RotoWire.
Watn Peter Schoenke Headsot

What have you accomplished in your professional life/career since your 40 Under 40 selection?

I’ve continued to build RotoWire into a leading fantasy sports information resource and tripled our revenue and staff. We added extensive daily fantasy sports content, increased coverage to 17 sports, and expanded to a global presence, covering such sports as cricket and soccer and employing writers around the world.

What accomplishments, milestones, or endeavors have you attained in your personal life since your 40 Under 40 selection?

When a large portion of the fantasy sports industry was in danger of being shut down from 2015 to 2017 over the growth of daily fantasy sports, I helped lead an industry effort to confirm the legality of fantasy sports, while also providing players with strong consumer protection measures. As the chairman of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, I led the FSTA’s lobbying efforts that saw the passage of laws in 20 states from 2011–2019, becoming the lead spokesman for the effort. I defended the fantasy sports industry in a Congressional hearing and testified in 10 state legislatures in support of the fantasy sports industry.

If you were to “do it all over again,” what (if anything) would you do differently throughout your career?

I probably would have had more foresight to envision how large fantasy sports could grow. Fantasy sports has grown to 59.3 million players in the U.S. and Canada, and expanded to a $7.22 billion industry. Beyond the U.S., there are 100 million players in India alone.

How did your 40 Under 40 selection help your career?

It helped me meet more people in the Madison business community. RotoWire does not do much local marketing since fantasy sports are a national and international market.

What is something that you have a new passion for since the time of your induction — either professionally or personally?

The world of state governments and lobbying is something I had to learn quickly. I’ve also become a fan of international sports such as soccer and cricket with the growth of RotoWire beyond just U.S. sports.

Based on your experience, do you have any advice for today’s young professionals (under 40)?

The main thing is to study in detail and find the history of the market you are trying to conquer. Smart people likely have tried your business idea and failed; why did they?

Click here to sign up for the free IB ezine — your twice-weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. If you are not already a subscriber to In Business magazine, be sure to sign up for our monthly print edition here.