January, 2010

FSC Takes Second FSTA Award

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

BlogTalkRadio’s Fantasy Sports Channel claimed the prize for Best New Site or Site Update on the second day of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association conference in Las Vegas.

The FSC took the FSTA industry award for Best Podcast on Tuesday, its first such honor.

New company Fantasy Sports Insurance was rewarded for Best Innovation on Wednesday, and RotoWorld/NBC Sports’ Season Pass was named Best Specialty Product or Service.


ESPN, CBS Split Final Two First-Day Awards

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Oops. Guess I should have checked the schedule rather than trying to jump on posting.

Make that five awards for ESPN on the first day, with the company taking the Fantasy Sports Trade Association plaque for Best Ad (print or online).

Additionally, after a one-year hiatus, CBSSports.com once again took the award for best commissioner product. MyFantasyLeague.com grabbed the honor in 2009, but CBS owned the category every year prior to that.

Thus ended the first day of FSTA industry awards — for real.


ESPN Claims Four FSTA Awards on First Day

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

ESPN started the Fantasy Sports Trade Association conference by winning nearly half of the nine awards handed out.

The “Worldwide Leader” won Industry Recognition awards for Best Online Draft-Style Contest, Best Video Podcast, Best Fantasy Sports Broadcast and Unique Contest for its Streak for the Cash game. That marks a solid jump from the one award that ESPN garnered a year ago.

The other five plaques handed out on Tuesday went to …

- CBS Sports, Best Online Draft Room

- Head2Head Sports, Best Online Salary-Cap Contest

- Fantasy Sports Channel/BlogTalkRadio, Best Audio Podcast

- WCOFF (Gridiron Sports), Best High-Stakes Event

- Baseball HQ’s First Pitch Arizona, Best Live Event


Build, Leverage User Engagement — but Be Careful

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

The best panel of the first half of Day 1 here at the Fantasy Sports Trade Association conference was the group that discussed user-generated content.

Led by Fantasy Sports Writers Association president Mike Beacom, the group comprised representatives from some pretty credible companies: RotoWire president Peter Schoenke, Footballguys.com co-owner David Dodds and Fantasy Sports Ventures executive vice president Andy Regal.

The key message: You can mine a lot of value from your users, but there are reasons and ways to be cautious.

Dodds shared probably the strongest words on the value of user-generated content, pointing to the Footballguys message boards as a key source of writing talent for the site.

“We hire almost exclusively from our message board,” he told the crowd Tuesday, citing the boards as a way to tease out the folks who know what their talking about and have some writing ability.

At the same time that companies can benefit from plucking writers from among their followers, writers can also benefit by leveraging the medium to chase such a relationship. The fact that more sites are chasing user interaction — expanding comment sections, hosting community blogs — provide a platform for aspiring writers to show what they can do.

Matthew Berry’s former site TalentedMrRoto.com was cited as another site that drew writers from its readership. Among others, this helped Yahoo!’s Brad Evans jump from a fantasy consumer to a nominee for both college sports and football writer of the year in this year’s FSWA awards. (He won for college, not for football.)

From the business side, user-generated content can obviously provide low-cost material for an outlet, but Regal cautioned that too much freedom on that front can scare marketers. Potential advertisers might be apprehensive, for instance, about attaching their brand to a site on which they can’t fully trust the content.

That’s part of the rub in targeting user-generated content. If you’re hosting the material, you need to be vigilant in assuring it’s appropriate for your audience — either that or work with a model that doesn’t require ad dollars.

The other part is the reliability of writers who are either uncompensated or paid a small amount. Regal presented an example of a college student who had agreed to provide basketball content at NCAA tournament time — only to trot off on a spring break vacation that he had never mentioned.

“Sometimes you get what you pay for,” Regal cautioned.

We’ve seen the explosion of user-generated content and other attempts at building communities, making consumers feel included. The obvious benefit is user loyalty and retention, but for fantasy sites and aspiring writers, it’s intriguing to look at the additional potential.