May, 2009

It’s Official: Matthew Berry Has Too Much Power

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

It’s one thing to be able to introduce yourself as “The Talented Mr. Roto” and not have people snicker or look baffled. That’s simply a sign of progress for the fantasy games and industry we all love. Today’s news is quite another, though.

USA Today’’s Michael Hiestand reports that ESPN fantasy face Matthew Berry will preside over the wedding of a California couple on June 6:

ESPN says it’s aware of 33 children who were named “ESPN” — or some variation of it. Its records date to Espen Blondeel, a Chicago-area boy who recently celebrated his ninth birthday. And watching too much ESPN has been formally cited as grounds for divorce at least once — in Texas in 1982.

The brand’s next obvious step: Preside over a wedding.

Matthew Berry, an ESPN fantasy sports expert, will become a justice of the peace for a day to marry James Hammer and Rachel Luna in Benicia, Calif. on June 6. It came after Berry, on an ESPN podcast, talked about starting an elite fantasy league and asked listeners to apply. Hammer offered to let Berry perform his wedding if he got in — he did.

Historians might eventually cite the ceremony as an antecedent to the First Church of ESPN.

Does this officially destroy the line between fantasy and reality?


FSB Daily 5/23: Wakeboarding, Moto, Online Games, Fashion, the ‘Experts’

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

A roundup of recent posts on the FSB News page.

- The MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour has partnered with the Fantasy Action Sports League to present a fantasy wakeboarding game.

- An awkwardly written press release announces that has launched as a host for pro Motocross and Supercross pick ‘em-style fantasy contests.

- The Wall Street Journal reports that free online sports games are gaining pretty significant audiences, potentially creating some new challenges for the makers of console games. The emergence of games such as Quick Hit football and MLB Dugout Heroes could also create opportunities or competition for fantasy sports providers in coming years.

- Glam Media has added Fashion Fantasy Game to its network, saying the site delivers “to advertisers a highly qualified and zealous audience” dominated by young women. Rather than a true fantasy game that relies on the performances of actual people, Fashion Fantasy Game is a MMORPG that allows users to create and run their own fashion business.

- Jon Williams wants to know who your favorite fantasy baseball “expert” is and why. After 51 votes, “Other” (43 percent) was leading the 10-option poll field by a wide margin, with Ron Shandler (14 percent), Matthew Berry (14 percent) and Jason Grey (12 percent) as the only others in double digits. was getting plenty of play in the early comments as well.

- Pro Football Weekly’s Michael Blunda says that you should expect to see big differences in the way we fantasy football “experts” rank the players heading into this season — much more so than usual.

Share/Save/Bookmark Partners with National Football Post

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

RealTime Fantasy Sports announced today that it has struck a deal with The National Football Post to run fantasy leagues for the pro football news site.

NFP launched back in August under the direction of former Green Bay Packers executive Andrew Brandt, and sporting contributors such as Michael Lombardi, who spent years in the Raiders’ front office. The site provided fantasy football content in its first season of existence, but this will be the first year of actual fantasy competition that it hosts.

Commissioner leagues will be available for $89.95 beginning in June, with Saints quarterback Drew Brees serving as the endorsement face for the those and the fantasy-specific content. As part of that deal, $9 from every signup will go to the Brees Dream Foundation, which helps fund cancer research and care for children.

“Drew Brees epitomizes the good that well-known personalities can leverage with their celebrity,” Brandt said in the announcement. “We are honored to have him as our spokesman for NFP Fantasy Football and hope to turn many children’s fantasies into reality in the process.”

Besides doing the normal smiling celebrity photos for the front pages, Brees will also reportedly provide audio and video downloads for NFP fantasy players — though the site doesn’t say just what the content of those will be.


FSB Daily 5/21: Random Stuff

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

A roundup of recent posts on the FSB News page.

- Those still looking to register for the June FSTA conference in Chicago can now get the discounted hotel rate through Tuesday, May 26.

- A pair of writers for The Huffington Post have divvied up the 20 contestants who made it through the first week of the ABC show The Bachelorette among fantasy teams. also offers users a fantasy game to accompany the show.

- MTV Networks surveyed 12-to-24-year-olds in the United States, Germany, India, Japan and the United Kingdom and found that young adults care most about a product being high-quality and reliable. It’s also important to surround the whole age group with marketing — on TV and online.

- The NFL has voted to allow its teams to align with state lotteries. This move may not have any direct link to sports wagering, but it’s certainly worth noting in relation to the NFL’s fight with gambling legalization. Also, it could encourage more states to explore a fantasy-related lottery model like the one practiced in Montana.

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