SBD/January 17, 2012/Media

CBS Digital To Open Site To Developers For Fantasy, Commerical Product

Developers will participate in revenue-sharing agreement with
CBS Sports today formally announced that it is opening its fantasy sports platform to third-party developers to create new apps via the newly launched Fantasy Platform Development Center. Some of the new products will be available when App Central launches on Jan. 31 (CBS Sports). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Eric Fisher reports is hoping to develop the "kind of marketplace for fantasy games that Apple’s iTunes Store has created for apps in general.” The move is “thought to be a first in the industry.” has partnered with “six companies at launch -- MLB Advanced Media, Bloomberg Sports, Rotowire, Statsheet, Advanced Sports Media and Ziguana -- and more are expected to join.” Senior VP & GM Jason Kint said, “The fantasy sports experience simply hasn’t evolved as much as we’d like in the last decade. What we’re trying to do is create an ecosystem and accelerate the next wave of innovation in the industry.” The platform “will work similarly to iTunes,” as developers who use the platform “will participate in a revenue-sharing agreement with, with 70 percent going to developers and 30 percent to CBS.” MLBAM is using the platform “to develop an application in which subscribers to the MLB.TV online live game package will be automatically directed to the game most relevant to their specific fantasy team” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/16 issue).

A VIRTUAL TOOL BOX: The AP’s Oskar Garcia reports the deal “means tools to help with everything from draft advice to lineup analysis will be available right in the site, customizable for each specific fantasy league.” CBS Interactive President Jim Lanzone said, "It levels the playing field for an entire league to be more competitive." He added that only the "most dedicated fantasy players use tools that go beyond the site they use to pick players and keep track of their league.” The “vast majority of those tools are separate from leagues themselves.” Lanzone: "By bringing them all into the game, everyone's going to see them -- everyone's going to have access to them. Even that guy who comes in seventh place every year who usually is dead money to your league is going to have access to these incredible tools that can help him do a lot better." Garcia writes the move by CBS Sports to “embrace those tools is a play to attract users of other top fantasy sites, including free sites run by Yahoo and ESPN” (AP, 1/17). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Russell Adams writes has “differentiated itself from competitors in that it charges people to play in its leagues, a distinction executives and partners say makes for a user base more likely to spend on apps” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/17).
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