March 9th, 2010

Bloomberg to Display Fantasy Tools Via ‘Expert’ Challenge

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Just to head off any jokes before we get too far into this post, “tools” refers to Bloomberg Sports’ new fantasy baseball analytics offerings and is not’s judgment of the participants …

We managed to overlook the announcement late last week, but in an interesting marketing twist for its fantasy package, Bloomberg has partnered with Fantasy Sports Ventures to put on the 2010 Bloomberg Challenge.

The “challenge” will be a 12-team “experts” league made up of six industry folks and six consumers. MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds (MLB Advanced Media is a business partner of Bloomberg Sports) will join five fantasy sports analysts with FSV ties:

- Ron Shandler of

- Lawr Michaels of

- Tim Heaney of

- Steve Gardner of USA Today

- Derek VanRiper of

As for the remaining six slots, Bloomberg is accepting nominations through the end of the day Wednesday (send to [email protected]), consisting of only a brief paragraph about why you should be included. Bloomberg will select six from that group, and the draft will take place Monday night at 8:30. Those chosen will receive free access to the Bloomberg analytics.

The goal here for Bloomberg is obviously to put the value of their new tools on display by showing that they can enable the average fantasy player to compete at the highest level.

“One of the innovative elements of the Bloomberg Sports analytic tools we have developed is that they give everyone a chance to really excel and have fun in fantasy baseball like never before,” Bloomberg product head Bill Squadron said in the media release. “By matching some of the greats of fantasy baseball against six fans, we will find out how our tools can help regular fans play fantasy baseball like the professionals. We believe that the league will generate a great deal of interest and fun while also demonstrating how different the product we have created is in the marketplace.”

Most of us in the fantasy industry, of course, know that the only thing differentiating the “experts” from many fantasy players is the publishing of their opinions. For that reason, it will be interesting to see if Bloomberg gravitates toward less-experienced consumers for this showcase.

Either way, it’s a fun marketing idea and should be a particularly enjoyable opportunity for the six consumers who are chosen.

Beyond that, it’s also another indication of the seriousness with which Bloomberg is entering the fantasy sports space — which can also be read as a testament to this industry’s continuing growth potential.