SBD/8/Sports Media

IS GOING ON-LINE THE KEY TO FANTASY LEAGUE SUCCESS?

     The "huge potential in on-line fantasy sports" is examined
by Stefan Fatsis in today's WALL STREET JOURNAL.   With "media
titans" spending more money on the ventures, major sports leagues
"are paying close attention" and game creators are "desperately
seeking meetings with leagues and companies to discuss deals."
With ESPN's fantasy game produced by Starwave, and Time Warner's
SI promoting a "web-based" basketball game, major media companies
are "lending legitimacy and stature to a business that has lacked
that kind of polish," according to Ann Kirschner, VP/NFL's New
Media Unit.  While the four major leagues "have steered clear" of
fantasy games because of gambling questions, league officials see
the "potential for generating more fans and revenue and are
listening as on-line creators bid to be the first 'official'
game." NBA Senior VP/Legal & Business Affairs Jeffrey Mishkin:
"If our concerns about gambling can be minimized, if not
eliminated, we would be interested in pursuing discussion" (WALL
STREET JOURNAL, 12/8).
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