Posts Tagged ‘rotoworld’

Magazine Producers Need Labor Resolution by NFL Draft

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Anyone who hopes to watch NFL games in 2011 obviously first has to hope for a new labor deal. If your business includes producing fantasy football magazines, the timeline for such a deal becomes even more important.

The developments — or relative lack thereof — over the past week of negotiations brings that issue into focus. The NFL and its players association extended last week the collective-bargaining deadline, pausing a potential chain of events that could have led to months in the courtroom.

According to’s Jim Trotter, negotiations nearly reached the breaking point before the extension. That would seem to enhance the importance of this week’s talks in avoiding a summer-long feud, which would crush the fantasy-magazine market for 2011.

Periodical producers have to be on pins and needles this week, right? Well, although all are certainly watching with interest, most have their eyes trained harder on NFL Draft weekend.

“This week on its own does not mean much if there was another week extension and then a deal,” RotoWorld managing editor Gregg Rosenthal told “It will be business as usual as long as there is NFL free agency before the NFL Draft.”

That notion was echoed by RotoWire president Peter Schoenke: “I think the NFL draft is probably a bigger deadline because it’s around the time we usually put together all the specifics for the magazine and we’ll need to see how much the editorial may suffer without off-season transactions.”

That’s the key issue in fantasy circles. The national media might be focused more on the negotiating stumbling blocks, the whereabouts of NFLPA counsel Jeffrey Kessler and the impact it all could have on the 2011 season.

We, however, need free agents to settle somewhere — even more so than usual. The no-CBA rules of 2010 changed the timeline for a league veteran reaching unrestricted free agency, and the result is a free-agent class of more than 500 players. It’s hard enough in a normal NFL calendar to project the outlook for hundreds of players and 32 team situations months ahead of time. Right now, content producers don’t even have the colors necessary to paint those pictures.

“Right now I’m researching cover subjects and the uncertainty of numerous potential free agents makes that a tougher task than in the past,” said Matt McKenzie, the lead editor for Sporting News’ Fantasy Football yearbook. “It also doesn’t help when it comes to our team reports, as there are some teams that have major holes across the board, which makes it hard to key in on their fantasy focuses.”

Of course, any delay that the labor issues shove into the off-season calendar will affect production schedules and could shrink the window for sales. The relative upside — very relative — is that this issue didn’t surprise NFL followers.

We’ve known for two years that winter 2011 would likely bring acrimony, and companies have had time to think about how to treat a potential lockout.

“We have been working under the assumption that a lockout is inevitable,” said Mitch Light, managing editor for Athlon Sports. “This negotiation extension gives us some hope, we still have to plan for all different scenarios.

Light said that his staff is in the process of setting a “drop-dead” date for production to start.

“If the lockout drags on for too long it just doesn’t make sense for us to publish a fantasy magazine,” he said. “Once we come up with that date, we will just sit back and wait.”

Others, however, plan to go to press whether the bickering has ended or not.

“Unfortunately, there’s not much to do but move forward the best we can,” McKenzie said for the SN magazine. “Some of the articles and capsules will have to be written a little looser than years before given the unknown free-agent situation, but I have no doubt we can still put out a quality magazine.”

Rosenthal shared a similar sentiment, relaying RotoWorld’s plan to publish even in an NFL standstill. He did point out, though, that a long struggle could lead to just a single edition being produced rather than the normal two-edition cycle.

Fantasy Index co-owner Bruce Taylor said his company has changed its contract structure for advertisers this year to suit the NFL situation. Normally a “cash-basis business,” Index is instead selling ad space in its fantasy football magazine on a “bill-me-later basis.”

“If the players and owners reach a settlement prior to the NFL draft, then we’ll execute the contracts,” Taylor said. “If an agreement is reached after the NFL draft but before May 15, then we’ll publish as usual, but likely with a smaller press run and a shorter on-sale period. We will reduce our advertising rates in direct proportion with the reduction in press run, and we’ll give advertisers the option to cancel their insertion orders.”

Smaller sales windows and downward adjustments in advertising rates are clearly scenarios that all hope not to encounter. The magazine business is tough enough these days, and fantasy content providers likely face an uphill battle to generate profits from these publications under normal conditions.

This will be a telling week for many throughout our industry, whether it ends with a labor deal or not. A new collective bargaining agreement by Friday would be the ideal, so that all could proceed with annual off-season plans. A further extension would mean more waiting and building anxiety, though it would also foster hope of a deal before the draft. Of course, a breakdown-lockout-lawsuit finish would be bad news.

For now, Fantasy Sports Publications founder Emil Kadlec says it’s not worth dissecting every step of the bargaining process.

“We’re obviously watching with great interest but whether a deal is done this week isn’t vital to our plans,” he told “We believe the deal will be done by the NFL draft which would fit well into our normal timeframe. Worst case, if needed, a one or two week on-sale date change is the most logical contingency. I think it’s best not to get caught up in the day-to-day drama of negotiations.”


Mashable Likes These 10 Fantasy Football Sites

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Any time you see a list of the top 10 anything, you know that a fair bit of subjectivity went into the selections and you probably take the list with a grain of salt.

That said, you won’t find many more trusted resources for “all things Web” than, with its 3 million-plus unique visitors a month and more than 2 million Twitter followers. So when that site comes out with its “Top 10 Fantasy Football Sites to Help You Win,” it’s at least worth passing along.

The article doesn’t specifically say that the list represents a ranking, but the whole numbering thing seems to indicate as much. Here are the sites that Mashable’s Miranda Lin likes best, with a snippet of her comments for each …

1. - “Having up-to-the-minute breaking news is the life-blood of any fantasy footballer, and Football Guys’ network of writers and inside sources is one of the best in the business, producing an “avalanche of news” that will keep you ahead of the game.”

2. - “The speed and quality of their newswire is second only to Football Guys and their ‘On Demand Draft Guide’ ($14.99) produces an easily printable document filled with player profiles and stat projections, ADP reports, rookie rankings, depth charts and injury reports that are updated in real-time and tailored to your league settings.”

3. The Huddle — “The Huddle has it all: Cheatsheets, player profiles and rankings, mock drafts, game predictions, free agent reports, start/bench advice and stat trackers. … But what really sets The Huddle apart are its forums.”

4. Fantasy Sharks — “This is the only site on this list that is 100% free — and it doesn’t give up anything in quality.”

5. — “The site’s crown jewel is the FFC Performance Index, an in-season ranking and projection system that calculates which of your players will have the best outing.”

6. Football Docs — “Apparently the Football Docs’ advanced degrees in engineering have also given them an inside track on fantasy football trends, draft tactics, lineup decision-making, and player rankings and projections.”

7. — “Although it’s not as organized or as user-friendly as some of the other sites, it’s hard to argue with the quality of CBS Sports’ product.”

8. Pro Football Reference — “Doug Drinen has put together a super-organized, easy-to-navigate collection of football statistics that allows users to search any aspect of a team or player’s performance throughout history.”

9. Draft Sharks — “With a sleek-looking interface that provides custom tailored cheatsheets (called MVP Boards), weekly player rankings, newsy and gossipy articles, personalized trade advice and in-season strength of season updates, Draft Sharks believes it can ‘out-analyze other websites.’”

10. — “In addition to the usual news and analysis from its stable of experts, including five-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) award-winner Matt Berry (aka ‘The Talented Mr. Roto’), ESPN has begun to offer a variety of services across different media platforms.”


Rotoworld Named Time Top 50 Website

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Those around the fantasy industry (or who play fantasy) are plenty familiar with the consistent quality of Now, fans of’s lists will know, too.

The well-known fantasy outlet has been named one of Time’s 50 Best Websites of 2010, a collection from top fives from 10 different categories. The entry reads:

Fantasy sports teams require constant attention and care. As for real general managers, the key to putting together a winning formula on the field, court or course is having a healthy active roster. Rotoworld is your rotisserie nurse, delivering up-to-the-minute information on roster moves, injury reads and rising stars. Powered by, the player news bar includes time-stamped blurbs for MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, golf and college football happenings. Each entry includes a brief excerpt and source link catering to the everyday needs of fantasy fans, from casual to committed.

Rotoworld is the only list’s only fantasy-specific website, joined in the Sports category by Sports-Reference, Yardbarker, Total Pro Sports and Citizen Sports.

The recognition comes two years after fellow NBC Sports property landed on the same list, though that preceded the NBC acquisition.


FSB Daily 7/21: Yahoo!, Footballguys, FF Calculator, Sporting News

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

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

- Apparently frustrated Android-owning fantasy football players will finally get their wish when Yahoo! introduces a team-management app for the line of smart phones in time for this season.

- has partnered with to attach its Rate My Team application to FF Calculator mock drafts.

- has rolled out a redesigned site for its Fantasy Source subscription area.

- One always has to take message-board threads with at least a dash of salt, but this is an interesting discussion from the Rotoworld boards about player opinions of fantasy basketball “experts.” There are some fantasy analysts in various sports who take their words as gospel, so it’s good to get a dose from time to time of some thoughts within the target audience.

-, supports and markets platforms that allow students (think college) to try their hand at making business decisions for sports entities. This promotional video leads off with the proposal of making the XFL work (if “He Hate Me” couldn’t do it, I don’t know …) and the “flagship” product centered on the Oakland Athletics.

- The SUPERDRAFT Vegas fantasy football event has announced that it will include a performance by Snoop Dogg. No word on whether the Pop Warner football coach will also drop some knowledge (or is that knizz-owledge?).

- ESPN the company will reportedly work more closely with ESPN The Magazine going forward, a move that includes moving much of the staff from New York City to Bristol.

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