NFC Deal Just a Part of STATS’ Fantasy Plan

We overlooked in mid-February the announcement of Greg Ambrosius’ deals taking control of the National Fantasy Championships from Liberty and partnering up with STATS. It seemed mostly formality for a deal that Ambrosius had already announced at the end of January.

Thanks to a post by Scott Atkins on the Fantasy Players Association website and a Sports Business Journal story from Feb. 21, though, there are some more interesting tidbits worth passing along. Chief among the info is STATS’ apparent plan to make this a mere first step in getting back to consumer fantasy gaming.

STATS executive vice president Steve Byrd told SBJ: “This is a very fertile market and obviously one where we have history, are comfortable with and know well. We don’t have any intention to get into the free, ad-supported space. That’s obviously very well staked out by ESPN, Yahoo! and others, many of which are our clients. But the pay side continues to show strong growth, and we think there’s a way for us to achieve scale there.”

As the report pointed out, STATS played a significant role in consumer fantasy games in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It also provided the back-end support for the NFFC and NFBC before Fanball acquired the events in 2009.

With its majority stake in the NFC, STATS has added Ambrosius to its staff as general manager of consumer fantasy games. Tom Kessenich also joins the company’s ranks as manager of high-stakes fantasy games. The NFC sites have also been switched over.

No specifics have yet been announced about further fantasy plans, but Byrd did tell SBJ that “there’s potentially interest in other assets” remaining at Liberty from the pending Fanball closure.

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