SBJ/Feb. 14-20, 2011/Media

17 MLB teams buy Bloomberg scouting tools

Bloomberg Sports has signed commercial agreements since December with 17 MLB teams for its professional scouting tools, marking a further advance for the company in its second year of work in sports analytics.

Already a dominant name in financial data and analytics, Bloomberg in partnership with MLB Advanced Media last year introduced a set of scouting tools tied directly to MLBAM’s real-time statistics and location-based data and video. Twenty-eight of 30 teams agreed to use the Bloomberg material on a trial basis, and the company has since converted more than half the teams in the league to paid commercial agreements. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Bloomberg’s analytics target teams and fans.
Teams signing deals with Bloomberg include Arizona, Kansas City and the Los Angeles Dodgers, said Bill Squadron, head of Bloomberg Sports.

The scouting products sold to teams are coupled with a set of products, including trade analyzers and draft kits, that are aimed at fantasy baseball players, a push for Bloomberg that also is entering its second year. This year’s fantasy materials, being sold for $19.95 for the draft kit and seasonlong tools, include a simplified navigation structure and full integration with fantasy leagues on Yahoo!, ESPN and CBSSports.com. Reworked mobile extensions that include applications for the iPhone and iPad also are available.

The $19.95 price is a reduction from $34.95 last year.

“We learned a lot in our first year, have made a number of changes we think will be very effective, and are ready to take that next big step and really drive upward in terms of usage,” Squadron said. “Last year was a good year, but we’re now expecting big things.”

Additions this year to Bloomberg’s player-evaluation algorithms include contract-year status, frequency of injuries and what it defines as a “luck” factor.

Bloomberg additionally has struck in recent days co-marketing partnerships with Baseball Digest, baseball games operation Strat-O-Matic, and the Society of American Baseball Research, among others, similarly designed to drive user awareness and adoption.

“Our fanatics are the ultimate experts in baseball statistics, so we are sure that they will love learning about the unique approach Bloomberg Sports is taking toward baseball statistical analysis,” said Hal Richman, founder of Strat-O-Matic, which is marking its 50th anniversary this year.

The Bloomberg Sports baseball iPhone application, mirroring a football-related product introduced last fall by Bloomberg and representing a scaled-down version of the online-based products, will sell for $1.99. The iPad version is priced at $4.99.

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