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Fantasy Football Delivering Big Wins For TV

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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

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Peter King: ‘Tom Brady Needs To Study Cris Collinsworth’

“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is.”

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Peter King dedicated a not-insignificant portion of his “Football Morning in America” column this week to advice for Tom Brady. FOX announced last week that the Buccaneers’ quarterback will become the network’s lead NFL analyst upon his retirement.

Brady’s decision and his reported salary have been the source of much speculation and prediction amongst his soon-to-be colleagues.

King is optimistic that Tom Brady will be entertaining and informative when he makes his FOX debut. He did offer the GOAT a little bit of advice about what he should be doing in the months leading up to calling it quits on his playing days and starting his new career.

“I think what I’d do if I were Brady is study Cris Collinsworth—and honest to goodness, I don’t say that because I work for NBC,” he wrote. “I say it because Collinsworth knows how to talk X’s-and-O’s conversationally, he’s an easy listen, and he can criticize when the time comes.”

Interestingly, last week, Collinsworth says he hears from most former players that are getting ready to make the jump to broadcasting. He was surprised he never heard from Tom Brady before FOX announced their deal.

King had two other suggestions. The first was that Brady watch multiple games from start to finish so that he can hear what the give-and-take between a broadcaster and analyst sounds like. The other is that he has to commit to being interesting and not censoring himself. King has faith that Brady will be able to do that.

“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is. On that LeBron James show last year, Brady said, ‘Ninety percent of what I say is not what I’m thinking. There’s a part of me that doesn’t like conflict, so in the end I always just try to play it super-flat.’ That has to end once he’s on TV if he wants to be any good.”

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Nick Wright Critical Of ABC Crew As Giannis Antetokounmpo Struggles In Game 7

“He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.”

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Giannis Antetokounmpo started hot in Game 7 on Sunday. By the time the game ended though, the Boston Celtics were on their way to Miami for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals and the defending champions were headed back to Milwaukee.

The Celtics’ defense gave the Milwaukee Bucks fits in the second half. The ABC broadcast put a special spotlight on Antetokounmpo, who got multiple drives to the basket that he could not finish.

“The best has got to show up when the best is needed, and Giannis has been disappointing,” said Mark Jackson over a package of highlights of Giannis missing shots. “As great of a player as he is, given credit to the Celtics’ defense, but he has struggled offensively time and time again.”

Nick Wright of FS1 noticed and he didn’t appreciate it. He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.

Mike Been, Mark Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy were not particularly hard on Giannis. The trio made the typical comments we hear when things aren’t going a great player’s way.

Wright did not harp on the issue beyond the single tweet. The outcome was not in doubt as the clock winded down. He gave credit to the Celtics rather than tweet about the Bucks or Giannis.

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Stephanie McMahon: WWE Is A Better Advertising Investment Than Sports

“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys.”

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Everyone knows that professional wrestling is scripted. The storylines, the outcomes of matches, all of it is predetermined. But in the eyes of WWE, that’s what makes their product so different, and better than traditional sports.

WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon told Deadline that when it comes to pitching advertisers, sports entertainment allows room for a range of different approaches to make something work.

“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys,” she said. “We have a leg up on sports. … You may object to what we do, but you’re never going to be bored.”

McMahon added that WWE has a much easier process in dealing with sponsors. Everything is handled in-house.

“We own all of the IP,” she said. “When brands deal with us, they just deal with us. We create something together.”

WWE is coming off a positive Q1 earnings report, which had the company up 27% in total revenue. Its two weekly primetime shows, Monday Night RAW and Friday Night SmackDown, continue to do well in ratings, and all special and pay-per-view events, in addition to its streaming platform WWE Network, are all housed on Peacock.

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