SBJ/20100517/This Week's News

Bloomberg branches out with data products

Bloomberg Sports this month is beginning an aggressive pursuit of several additional markets for its new baseball analytics products.

The well-known financial data company last fall partnered with MLB Advanced Media to develop and market an extensive series of statistical products for both MLB teams and individual fantasy baseball players.

The initial set of releases, which hit the market earlier this year, was led by a professional-grade product sold to teams that allows for a massive range of research on teams and individual players using MLBAM’s real-time statistics and location-based data. That was followed by a consumer-level offering that put forth some of the same information but in ways aimed at fantasy baseball use.

The new initiatives are intended to increase the audience size and scope for the Bloomberg products. Among the latest moves:

Online video with Keith Hernandez and
smartphone platforms are among the
Bloomberg initiatives.

A sales effort to reach regional sports networks and other TV entities, aiming to have the outlets use the Bloomberg data on air. Among the early adopters, at least on a trial basis, are the Comcast-owned regional sports networks, YES Network and NESN.

A similar push to reach individual players and their agents. The idea here is to help players with their own individual research as well as to prepare for free agency and arbitration proceedings.

The creation of mobile applications on various platforms, most prominently the iPhone, for the consumer market.

A deal with RotoHog to develop a casual fantasy game on Facebook using the Bloomberg baseball data.

The development of a viral online video series titled “Mustrash Talk” that features former MLB star and current SNY analyst Keith Hernandez offering fantasy baseball trash talk, all the while showcasing his famed mustache. That effort has been joined by another online video series within MLB.com’s blog network called “Ballpark Figures” that offers fantasy tips, discussion on statistical trends in baseball, and interviews with various MLB players, with new installments to appear at least twice a week.

An expansion of Bloomberg’s relationships with MLB teams to bring some of the data and analysis out of the front offices and onto stadium scoreboards, as well as having it used in various marketing efforts and sales promotions. The New York Mets are the first club to use the information in this fashion, as they have started to put data up on Citi Field’s scoreboards.

“This is all about raising awareness in the right kind of way and showing the compelling nature of what we’re doing,” said Bill Squadron, head of Bloomberg Sports.

Squadron said sales of both the pro and consumer products to date have met expectations, but he declined to provide specifics. Twenty-eight of 30 MLB teams are using the pro-level data, with Boston and the New York Yankees the two holdouts, according to industry sources.

The RotoHog-powered Facebook game aims to extend Bloomberg’s fantasy reach from tools and analytics into actual gameplay.

Said Kelly Perdew, RotoHog chief executive, “Our business model is about powering games for brands, and this is a validation of the investment we’ve made in our people and technology.”

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