NFC Deal Just a Part of STATS’ Fantasy Plan

March 3rd, 2011

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.


FSB Daily 3/1: MyFantasyLeague, Sirius, RotoExperts

March 1st, 2011

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

- Former Fanball boss Ryan Houston presents some updates via his website on the movements of several former charges, including Geoff Stein’s announcement this week of a new position with Houston also mentions that Kay Adams, part of Sirius’ Fanball Fantasy Drive team, will be hosting her own Sunday night show.

- We also learned from the aforementioned Ryan Houston post that Sirius XM will be on hand in Arizona this weekend to broadcast the LABR drafts. Steve Gardner of USA Today has the lineups for each league and some further details for anyone unfamiliar with the League of Alternate Baseball Realities. The drafts will be on the air Saturday and Sunday nights, 7 p.m. to midnight Eastern.

- RotoExperts announced Tuesday that it has acquired MC3 Sports Media, which owns and operates the Around the Horn Baseball and Xtra Point Football blogs.

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FSB Daily 2/28: LeagueSafe, FS4Kids, RotoExperts, Picktainment

February 28th, 2011

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

- is looking to fill two full-time positions: a customer experience manager and a financial administrator, both to be on-site in Minnesota.

- Fantasy Sports 4 Kids recently partnered with the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation to raise money to help children afflicted with cancer.

- RotoExperts recently added fantasy veteran David Gonos to the staff. Gonos was most recently aligned with OPEN Sports and was once a CBS colleague of RotoExperts managing director Scott Engel.

- blogger Michael Humphrey has more info about Picktainment — the Oscar-games engine — and the role that Mark Zuckerberg’s sister Randi played in its creation.

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FSB Daily 2/24: Sirius XM, RotoWire, Emma Bianchi, Picktainment

February 24th, 2011

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

- Sirius XM has held on to hosts Ray Flowers and Kyle Elfrink of the Fanball Fantasy Drive show, which is now called Sirius XM Fantasy Drive. Flowers, the creator of, has also joined RotoWire as a contributing writer.

- From the recent Herald-News obituary of 86-year-old Emma Bianchi of Joliet, Ill.: “When Emma died Dec. 11 at the age of 86, the family lost a diehard fantasy football player. Eleven years ago, Laureen’s then-sixth grade son started a fantasy football team and asked Emma to join it. At first, Emma didn’t quite understand the logistics and selected her players based on ‘He’s got such a nice German name,’ or ‘He works so hard for his community.’” We can only guess that she also loved David Hasselhoff.

- With the Academy Awards coming up this weekend, here’s a plug for the fantasy-style games of Picktainment, which changed its name from with the addition of games for American Idol and Dancing with the Stars.

- Steve Gardner of USA Today passes along and builds off another blogger’s pondering of whether the rise of the machines will consume fantasy sports analysis.

- You’ve probably already seen this, since it was reported by Sports Business Journal and passed along by Pro Football Talk. It’s worth noting that EA Sports will be getting a break on its rights fees for 2011 as a result of the labor strife, in exchange for a one-year extension to their deal through 2013. One has to wonder if a similar deal is available to any of the many others who pay annual rights fees.

-’s Joe Lemire recently offered an ode to Strat-O-Matic baseball for this year’s 50th anniversary.

- This agent blogger ponders the impact that Bloomberg’s foray into baseball statistical analysis — to which 17 MLB teams now subscribe — may have on player contract negotiations.

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