March, 2009

Why Not More, MLB Network?

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

I just finished watching the MLB Network fantasy draft preview show tonight, and am left with just one question: Why, again, can’t you guys put together a regular fantasy broadcast?

The show was good. I got strong, credible information from MLB’s pair of fantasy guys, Cory Schwartz and Mike Siano — just the kind of material I got used to receiving from them when I listened to the Fantasy 411 radio show on my computer at work.

Former second baseman and current analyst Harold Reynolds didn’t pretend to know fantasy, instead adding his take on things such as why Howie Kendrick might be striking out more so far in the big leagues than he did in the minors. He certainly provided some of his own opinions but made it clear that he deferred to Schwartz and Siano on matters of fantasy.

Twice, I found myself heading to the waiver wire in my keeper league to see if a player was available after he was talked about on the show.

Why can’t MLB Network find 30 or 60 minutes a week to focus on this stuff throughout the season? I can’t imagine there’s a good answer.


What Does STATS Acquisition of PA SportsTicker Mean?

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Just about everyone reading this right now is probably already aware that STATS acquired PA SportsTicker earlier this month. Unfortunately, other projects kept us from affording it proper treatment at the time, but this move is still worth attention 24 days after it was announced.

Specifically, when one of the three major statistics and information providers is gobbled up by another, it only makes sense to consider the impact.

From a practical standpoint, the move should certainly strengthen STATS’ existing stateside efforts. It’s tough to imagine how adding SportsTicker’s capabilities to the fold could do anything but help when the two companies already focused on much the same material. Of course, the similar focuses also means overlap from the merging, and SportsTicker’s 125-person staff has seen layoffs as a result.

The acquisition also included a deal with SportsTicker’s former parent company, PA Sport to extend STATS’ reach in England. That could help with important international sports of soccer and cricket, which figure to be at the center of fantasy’s expansion to a global marketplace. STATS CEO Gary Walrath mentioned the international aspect of the deal in the company’s news release.

“We also recognize PA Sport’s world-class capabilities, and anticipate the creation of many new and compelling products for our clients and league partnerships, globally, as a result of our collaboration,” he said.

Most important to companies within our industry, though, might be the paring of information outlets. Instead of three choices, sites deciding on stat and news feeds will now be down to STATS and The Sports Network. What will that mean for areas such as pricing, service and overall quality of the product?

We want to hear what you think. What will it mean for our industry or your site in particular? Has your site already been impacted by the change? Let us know either with a comment right here or an e-mail to [email protected].


Fanball Acquires RotoJunkie

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Fanball announced Wednesday the purchase of fantasy sports forum site

“ has a long history of being one of the largest community message boards in the fantasy sports industry,” Fanball senior vice president Ryan Houston said in the press release. “We are excited about the opportunity to integrate the RotoJunkie community into our existing content offerings.”

RotoJunkie will remain a standalone site and has already been re-branded.


SI Fantasy Foray Skews Very Young

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

The whole fantasy sports industry has been reaching out to a younger audience for the past few years, but Sports Illustrated is going younger than most.

SI Digital has reached a two-year deal with old favorite gaming company Strat-O-Matic to design fantasy games for a teen and pre-teen audience under the umbrella. Specifically, the 12 new games will be targeting 8- to 15-year-olds.

“We’re going after something that speaks more directly to this audience,” SI Kids managing editor Bob Der told Sports Business Journal. “We look at this as the most passionate time in one’s sports fandom, and there’s a definite thirst we see for a better fantasy experience for this age group.”

The effort will start with a salary-cap baseball game that was supposed to be available by Wednesday but wasn’t as of that night. The site’s fantasy page says that football, basketball and hockey will also be available by the end of the year. In addition, appears ready to jump into the burgeoning areas of fantasy college football and college basketball.

The games will, of course, be free to play. According to the SBJ report, boasted 250,000 registered fantasy users in 2008, when STATS ran the games.