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Fantasy Football Delivering Big Wins For TV

Jason Barrett

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The fantasy sports craze has looked very attractive to media companies: it’s a source of ad dollars and, for those who invest in the leading outfits, an avenue for digital growth.

But in the past 24 hours it’s been more of a headache. Controversy over the premature release of information by an employee at DraftKings, one of the two big firms, continued Tuesday as there were calls from Capitol Hill for greater oversight of the industry.

On Tuesday, DraftKings pulled all of its advertising from Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN but kept ads in place on other networks including Fox Sports, which has a stake in the fantasy sports company. Fox Sports parent 21st Century Fox and Wall Street Journal-owner News Corp were part of the same company until 2013.

An ESPN spokesperson declined to comment on DraftKings or whether the incident involving that firm would cause the company to rethink its willingness to be in business with the fantasy sports company. A Fox Sports spokesman said the company was keeping a close eye on the situation but declined to elaborate further.

NBCUniversal, which is an investor in FanDuel, a rival fantasy sports firm, declined to comment. NBCUniversal is a unit of Comcast Corp.

In just a few short years, advertising from fantasy sports firms has become omnipresent on television and radio. DraftKings and its rival FanDuel have spent more than $200 million on television commercials this year, according to iSpot.tv.

The sites also buy significant time on sports radio stations and have sponsorship deals with many prominent sports talk personalities. For example, Dan Patrick’s national show counts FanDuel as one of its sponsors and the company is often plugged during broadcasts.

Fantasy sports have been around for years, of course, and have become so ingrained in football that even announcers talk about it casually during game coverage. On Monday night, Kurt Warner noted during his radio coverage of the Seattle Seahawks — Detroit Lions game that fantasy players are upset with how the Seahawks are using tight end Jimmy Graham.

The appeal of the NFL’s RedZone channel, which shows live action from every game on Sunday afternoons, is also primarily to fantasy players wanting to keep up on how their rosters are doing.

DraftKings and FanDuel have upped the stakes for players, allowing them to draft virtual teams of professional athletes and compete against each other based on the teams’ real-world performances that day or week. The companies put customers’ contest entry fees toward cash prize pools and keep around 10% in commissions for themselves.

Part of the theory for the media companies that have invested in DraftKings and FanDuel is that people who stand to win money on games are more likely to tune in. Fantasy can drive buzz and viewership.

The NFL has embraced fantasy football and has its own operation. However, there are no monetary prizes for participants. The league has no sponsorship relationship or investment in any fantasy sports companies and a spokesman said it is keeping close tabs on the DraftKings matter.

NFL teams are not allowed to accept sponsorship for fantasy sports but can accept advertising “within their controlled media properties,” the spokesman said. That means teams can accept stadium signage as well as ads on any media or online properties they operate. While teams cannot invest in fantasy companies, individual team owners can.

Credit to the Wall Street Journal who originally published this article

Sports TV News

FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts

“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

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FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.

“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.

“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”

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Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC

“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”

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Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.

“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”

Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.

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Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”

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FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.

The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.

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