November, 2010

Yahoo! Says 2010 is Validating Free Move

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Yahoo! Sports has long put forth the most-trafficked fantasy sports site on the Web. This year was the first time, though, that it sought to add value to its fantasy football product by dropping fees altogether.

The majority of Yahoo! players have always gotten their fantasy fix for free, but items such as live scoring were available only by paid subscription. Why the change for 2010?

“We decided to go fully free because there was a tremendous amount of interest from advertisers,” Kyle Laughlin, head of Yahoo! Sports and Yahoo! Games, told Investor’s Business Daily in late October.

Yahoo! had previously dropped all fees for its fantasy games in other sports, and Laughlin conceded a drop in paid subscribers before this season. Whether a result of the change or other factors, the company expects to grow its base of fantasy football users from 4.4 million in 2009 to 5 million this season. Traffic growth, obviously, is essential to surviving and thriving within a model whose revenue relies completely on advertising.

“We had to weigh the short-term financial hit vs. the potential upside of adding more users as well as trying to fulfill the demand for advertising from our partners,” Laughlin said. “It’s worked well for us this year in the sense that we sold out of our sponsorships in fantasy football, so it’s been a fantastic kind of validation of that decision over time.”

Of course, the Yahoo! model can’t necessarily serve as a roadmap for too many other fantasy game operations. Any Yahoo! subdivision starts with the advantage of the primary site drawing more than 130 million unique visitors a month. The report also points to big brands MillerCoors, Southwest Airlines, Toyota, Sprint Nextel and Visa as Yahoo!’s leading sponsors.

Because traffic and user numbers were already so high — even the aforementioned growth of 600,000 players would represent just a 13.6 percent increase (not shabby, of course) — it’s worth pondering what kind of revenue might be driven by diversified offerings. Fewer users might have been willing to pay for live scoring, but what about a presence in the short-window (daily/weekly) games area that has been on the rise lately?

It’ll be interesting to see over the next few seasons how high the user ceiling might go for Yahoo! fantasy football and what the company can accomplish in a climate that has proved harsh to ad-supported Web properties.


FSB Daily 11/21: RTSports, High Stakes, FanVision, FanSwarm

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

A roundup of items recently posted on the FSB News page.

- RealTime Sports recently released an iPhone app to handle fantasy team management.

- The Washington Post profiles a few area high-stakes fantasy football players. One says, of the famous DeAngelo Williams four-touchdown game late in 2008 that kept him out of the WCOFF top prize: “Truthfully, I threw up that night.”

- Some teams and venues in various American professional sports are hoping that FanVision devices might enhance the stadium experience for a public increasingly willing to stay home on gameday. The device provides smart-phone type functionality (minus the phone) and works only in and around participating stadiums. A key component is being able to check in on scores and stats from other games.

- FanSwarm brings the fantasy sports style of celebrity gawking to Facebook.

Send all of your news, job postings, stories and profile ideas to [email protected]. Follow us on Twitter (FSBcom).


FSB Daily 11/20: ESPN, Business Impact, Fantasy Longevity, Bad Advice

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

A roundup of items recently posted on the FSB News page.

- We missed this about a month ago, but apparently Matthew Berry, Nate Ravitz, Stephania Bell and Fantasy Focus producer Jay “PodVader” Soderberg are all available free-agent players in Madden ‘11. Berry is a linebacker, Ravitz a receiver, Bell a running back and Vader a blocking tight end.

- This writeup on the weekend football scene around Hermosa Beach, Calif., doesn’t present anything particularly out of the ordinary. It does, however, offer a worthwhile snapshot of the direct impact fantasy football can have on indirectly related businesses.

- This Dallas-area fantasy football league has been going strong for 25 years, with the screwy scoring system to prove it.

- And now some fun at another’s expense: Any time I come across an article that purports to instruct one on how to become a fantasy sports writer, I’ll probably be interested. If it’s worthwhile, I might pass along a link here. If it’s the complete opposite, I might also feel compelled to share. is apparently a high-traffic site, and perhaps most of its content is very helpful. “How To Become a Fantasy Sports Writer,” however, was obviously written by someone who has no idea how to. The first paragraph introduces an incorrect assumption (”there is no doubt fantasy sports writers are in high demand these days”), followed by an unnecessary step (”you should start as a real sports writer”). A few of the ensuing sentences are not useless, but I’ll let you decide which. I can’t argue this final line, though: “For a start, you may also try out some sites that are hiring fantasy sports writer to be paid $30 per article composed of 200 to 300 words.” If you find someone willing to pay you $30 for every four paragraphs you write, jump on it.

Send all of your news, job postings, stories and profile ideas to [email protected]. Follow us on Twitter (FSBcom).


FSWA Opens 2010 Awards Process

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Fantasy football writers can start mailing it in a little earlier this year.

The Fantasy Sports Writers Association has opened the nominating process for its end-of-year awards earlier than in the past and also moved up the deadline. All submissions must be in by 9 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, Dec. 21 — 10 days earlier than in prior seasons.

That’s particularly important to keep in mind during what can be an extremely busy time of year for anyone who deals in fantasy football.

The 15 categories include (required submissions are the number of articles that must be provided to make the entrant eligible):

Best Fantasy Football Writer of the Year (5 submissions required)
Best Fantasy Football Article of the Year, Web
Best Fantasy Football Article of the Year, Print
Best Fantasy Football On-Going Series (3 submissions required)
Best Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year (5 submissions required)
Best Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year, Web
Best Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year, Print
Best Fantasy Baseball On-Going Series (3 submissions required)
Best Fantasy Basketball Writer of the Year (5 submissions required)
Best Fantasy Hockey Writer of the Year (5 submissions required)
Best Fantasy Golf Writer of the Year (5 submissions required)
Best Fantasy Racing Writer of the Year (5 submissions required)
Best Fantasy College Sports Writer of the Year (5 submissions required)
Best Fantasy Humor Article of the Year, Print or Web
Fantasy Newcomer of the Year (5 submissions required)

The “Newcomer of the Year” award is new in 2010 and is open to non-FSWA members. Eligible candidates must have published their first article since the start of this year. All other awards are open only to FSWA members. (Non-members can join here by Dec. 31 to become eligible.)

The FSWA has also extended the deadline for companies to submit magazines in the top print publication category. Two samples must be received by Monday, Dec. 13, and should be sent to:

Attn: Mike Beacom
PO Box 296
Amherst, WI 54406

All awards will be presented at the Fantasy Sports Trade Association’s winter conference.

2009 winners: here and here
2008 winners: here, there and this place
Previous winners: elsewhere