In last week’s column, we provided a little background into the history of the sports schedule. It was reported that this publication is responsible for the order in which sporting events are listed, as well as starting times.
In the last few years, the rotation has been researched and compiled by Don Best Sports, a sports information service emanating from Las Vegas. Every Nevada sports book now not only uses it, but the majority of offshore bet shops as well.
The following is an interview with Gary Pasquale, Director of Schedule Services for Don Best Sports.
GT: Don Best Sports now makes the sports betting rotation for every Nevada and offshore sports book. Why did the company get in to the sports schedule business?
GP: Since our Premium Service had already become the industry standard for sports information in 1998, we decided to start creating our own rotation. Within six months, all of the major Nevada and offshore sports books switched to our rotation.
GT: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
GP: Making sure of the publication’s accuracy is definitely the most challenging. It is also where the most pressure comes in. We must make sure we have the exact venues correct, as well as the starting times. We sure don’t want the sports books to get past-posted (taking bets after the game has started).
GT: How many time zones are included in this publication?
GP: We publish in the Eastern, Central and Pacific Time zones. However, it isn’t as easy as it may seem. Some schools are located in a state that has two time zones, like Tennessee. We also must be aware of when the country goes from daylight time to standard time.
GT: We are all aware that the network and cable television stations are constantly changing the times of sporting events to fit their schedule. How do you keep your customers apprised of these changes?
GP: It’s a two-fold process. We send a fax and call certain customers. We also make the time changes available on our Web site (www.donbest.com).
GT: Why do we see some schedules at the sports books with a Jim Feist logo on them and others that say Don Best Sports?
GP: Jim Feist buys the rotation from us and then uses it to print his own version of the schedule. He supplies his version to various companies for distribution.
GT: What is the toughest time of the year to make the schedule?
GP: The initial first few books of the basketball season are more difficult because the college schools are not required to post their early tournament schedule dates. Therefore, we are constantly calling college athletic directors and sports information directors to get starting times for these tournament games.
GT: Do you ever get different starting times when you call separate departments in the same school?
GP: Absolutely. We will go to the school’s Web site first and then try to verify the time by calling a live person in the different departments. We then make another phone call prior to the book going to print to make sure the time or venue hasn’t changed.
GT: This seems like it is has to be more than a one-man operation.
GP: Definitely. We have a great staff. The look of the book is the responsibility of Greg Perslin, our grid coordinator. John Mastalir, who had the same responsibilities for many years at the Nevada Sports Schedule, does the research.
GT: College schools that are considered ”˜board’ teams are regularly included in the schedule rotation. There are other schools that are lumped into a part of the rotation called "added games." Who makes that determination?
GP: We get opinions from well-respected sports books and also ask the opinions of a few successful handicappers.
GT: Do you see more schools being added to the list of ”˜board’ teams?
GP: No, I think it is fairly stable right now with the lower conferences still being included under the header of "added games." Those contests historically have lower betting limits.
GT: Since there could be more than 100 games on a busy college basketball Saturday. How is the order of games determined?
GP: We make the order by time, putting all of the games that start at 4:30pm before the games that start at 5:00pm and so on.
GT: But how do you determine the order in which the numerous 4:30 and 5:00 games are listed?
GP: Well, since this rotation is under copyright, I wouldn’t want to be giving away company secrets. But it is a little more scientific than picking teams out of a hat.