November, 2008

RotoExperts Sponsors FSTA Conference

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

RotoExperts has signed on to sponsor the Fantasy Sports Trade Association winter business conference.

“RotoExperts is excited about our industry’s direction and the strategic partnerships we’ve developed in such a short period of time,” says Ben Ice, founder of RotoExperts. “Our goal in 2009 is to continue to establish relationships within the industry, and this is a great opportunity to get in front of them.”

The conference is set for January 27 and 28 in St. Pete’s Beach, Fla., and will include the presentation of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association annual awards.


Sports Media and Tech Conference Addresses Troubling Economy

Monday, November 24th, 2008

The 10th Annual Sports Media & Technology Conference, presented by the Fantasy Sports Association, Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily, took place Thursday and Friday amid a tough economic landscape.

Leaders from around the sports media field met in New York City to discuss and learn about the way some top companies are dealing with the tough times and to find out what might be on the industry’s horizon.

Ted Kasten, founder of Advanced Sports Media — which develops the Draft Analyzer fantasy draft software and PlayerSearch, the first sports-focused search engine — was in attendance and shared his notes from the forum with

The economy was obviously a huge focal point. There were three related themes discussed throughout the conference:

1) Companies need dual revenue streams during the economic downturn: Companies with dual revenue streams (advertising revenue plus subscription revenue) will be in much better shape during the economic downturn than companies that rely solely on advertising revenue. Sports, in particular golf, will be hit hard because of their dependence on financial firms and domestic car companies for sponsorships. Jimmy Pitaro of Yahoo pointed out that they have always been tempted to provide all of their fantasy tools, such as the Stat Tracker, for free but never did as those premium products continued to grow every year and are currently growing faster than their free services. Considering the change in online advertising, that was a smart move to retain the premium features.

2) Major sporting events such as the BCS moving to cable: Broadcast networks that rely solely on advertising revenue are unable to compete with ESPN and their powerful dual revenue streams. Demonstrating this was ESPN’s recent acquisition of the rights to the BCS games from Fox. Fox was unable to match the $125 million/year bid from ESPN (Fox currently pays $82.5 million/year for the rights to the BCS). This will be the first time these games will not be available on free broadcast TV.

3) Flight to Quality: Panels repeatedly stated that a “flight to quality” will make the smaller companies feel more of the pain from the downturn in advertising than the larger companies and brands.

The first and third items should be of particular interest to companies within the fantasy industry. “Flight to quality” is a phrase said to originate in stock trading, and it refers to taking investments out of risky ventures in favor of the safest possible entities.

For the purposes of our industry, it could mean advertisers, sponsors or even investors veering away from smaller fantasy outfits or new ventures and throwing their money behind the familiar names.

Any lack of funding from those avenues feed directly into the need for dual revenue streams. Obviously, if a fantasy site can’t pay its way on advertising dollars alone, it has to find other ways to stay viable. That, in turn, brings us to the whole free vs. subscription quandary that not only faces many a fantasy site but all sorts of content and service providers around the Web.

If you’re reading this site, you’re probably already facing these issues, but maybe you’ll find it a little heartening to know that such things are on everyone’s minds throughout the industry — even the big boys.


So Much for the Brady Effect

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

In the week following the opening Sunday of the NFL season, much was made about the dooming effect that Tom Brady’s injury would have on fantasy owners — many of whom drafted him in the first round.

Well, how many people are doomed at quarterback now?

Sunday’s second-half benching of Donovan McNabb marked just the latest downfall of a fantasy starter. Dallas’ Tony Romo missed three games after breaking the pinky on his throwing hand. Cincinnati’s Carson Palmer has missed the past six games and seven overall, and might note get back on the field this season because of an injured throwing elbow.

Beyond those top guys, there’s Matt Hasselbeck of Seattle, who missed five games and has stunk in pretty much every other. Cleveland’s Derek Anderson found his way to the sideline just a year after his breakout campaign. Houston’s Matt Schaub has had his breakout delayed by a knee injury.

Heck, even Peyton Manning took half a season to play like Peyton Manning.

What is the affected fantasy owner to do? Well, you can head elsewhere for advice. The moral of this story is that the season doesn’t end because one player disappears from the lineup. If every team did rely on a keystone, these games wouldn’t be as much fun to play.


FSB Daily 11/22: Fantasy at War, MLB Net, Buffalo News, Sports Data Hub

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

A roundup of recent posts on the FSB News page.

- Fantasy football is a favorite pastime for American soldiers serving overseas … even if they can’t quite always find the time to keep their lineups up to date.

- Amid the initial programming on the new MLB Network, you will not find any fantasy content.

- Even if you’ve never heard of Tom Borrelli before, this is a touching tribute to the former Buffalo News writer who died at 51 this week after a fall left him paralyzed. Among his duties at the News was a regular fantasy column.

- In a guest turn for USA Today, Sports Data Hub’s Kevin Goodfellow tells fantasy football players to pay attention to the tendencies of certain coaches.