SBD/June 1, 2011/Media

NFL Lockout Watch, Day 82: Could Fantasy Football Suffer This Year Due To Lockout?

ESPN The Magazine is not planning on cancelling its annual fantasy football guide, contradicting a report in Saturday's Washington Post. An ESPN spokesperson in a statement to THE DAILY said, "We are postponing the issue, not cancelling. We still plan to publish but wanted to ensure the accuracy of the information we provide sports fans” (THE DAILY). The initial report, written by Gene Wang, cited an industry analyst as saying that ESPN The Magazine has “scrapped its annual fantasy football guide, which would have appeared on newsstands and in 2 million mailboxes in early June.” ESPN Dir of Digital Communications Kevin Ota indicated that an "editorial decision” was made to postpone publishing the guide. Ota said of the NFL lockout, “If and when things straighten themselves out, the data and the information that would go into that publication would be out of date, inaccurate or otherwise.” Other “giant content providers ... are holding out, hoping to publish when the lockout ends.” Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports “remain committed to regularly scheduled publishing.” Athlon Sports, which publishes one of the industry’s “most recognized fantasy football annuals,” is “in a holding pattern.” But Managing Editor Mitch Light in an e-mail confirmed that “the magazine intends to publish shortly after the lockout ends.” Athlon “has not made a decision as to whether it will publish if the lockout stretches into September.” Yahoo Head of Fantasy Sports David Geller, whose company has the “most visited fantasy football site,” in an e-mail said, “Until there is definitive word from the league, we are proceeding as if the season will not be impacted by the lockout.” Meanwhile, CBSSports.com is “trying to attract customers now with discounted fees for early registration and a ‘Gridiron Guarantee’ that promises credit or a refund if games are lost or the season is canceled” (WASHINGTON POST, 5/29).
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