May 6th, 2009

Athlon Acquires U-Sports

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

College football fans know Athlon Sports best for producing one of the top season-preview magazines available. The company announced a move Wednesday, though, that will position it well in the growing area of fantasy college football and keep customers more engaged throughout the season.

“We started talking about an acquisition last October,” said Nathan Karp, former director of U-Sports and now director of fantasy sports operations for Athlon. “Very quickly we realized that this relationship would be a classic win-win and negotiated terms fairly quickly.”

The move is meant to integrate the U-Sports commissioner product — which was established back in 1996 — into Athlon’s online content, adding to each outlet a component that it hadn’t previously offered.

Existing users of U-Sports will still find the familiar site at the old address, but Karp says it will soon operate under the url - a destination that is already active.

“The only change existing users will readily notice is an increased focus on analysis and advice,” Karp told “U-Sports’ strength is providing a superior fantasy commissioner service, and we purposefully never attempted to author content. Athlon Sports, on the other hand, has been covering college sports since 1967 and has always been the leader for college football analysis.”

The company also hopes that the fantasy contests will draw more consistent traffic throughout the year — or at least the specific seasons — rising to meet the spike that occurs with the open of football season.

Karp said that U-Sports will also be a key piece of Athlon’s expanded online fantasy presence, which will include the launch of a new website,

“This site will showcase Athlon’s fantasy offerings, which primarily consist of U-Sports, fantasy content at and Grogan’s Sports,” Karp said.

Although football sits at the forefront of the deal and carries a larger audience, U-Sports also brings a basketball commissioner product that Karp said will also have a presence.

“The primary focus is, of course, on college football, which has a strong potential to capture the second largest fantasy audience,” Karp said. “However, there is still an audience for college fantasy basketball and unlike football, you can argue that the college game has more popularity than the professional counterpart in basketball.”


Fantasy Baseball Has Always Gotten Husbands into Trouble

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

So, we’re still playing some catchup here on items we haven’t had a chance to address during some busy weeks, and this story by Nando Di Fino from April 29 is worth reading — especially for any guy who plays fantasy baseball.

The focal point of the article is a fantasy baseball league created back in 1984 by a bunch of advertising executives, and Di Fino points out the various differences between running and competing in a league back then and today.

All of that stuff about the league in general is interesting and entertaining, but the best nugget as far as I’m concerned is the anecdote of the guy who worked out a fantasy trade during a wedding … his own wedding.

Knowing that he was doing something that would get him into trouble with his bride, Tim O’Day asked his league commissioner — a guest at the shindig — to call the other owner on his behalf and offer Toronto starter Luis Leal for Detroit reliever Willie Hernandez. The other owner accepted, the commish gave the groom a thumbs up and the bride smacked her beau on the arm — proving that women have never been fooled by our seemingly stealthy transactions.

Being that it was 1984, this may well have been the first ever instance of a new husband taking time on an important day to better his fantasy team. It certainly, however, wasn’t the last.

So, fellas, the next time that your wife gives you a hard time about comparing football rosters with some guy you just met at a wake or for checking scores on your iPhone during your daughter’s graduation, just tell her she’s lucky she didn’t marry Tim O’Day.