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Fantasy Sports Marketing

Pitching leagues on the Web.

Those who remember the days before modems might recall when fantasy sports leagues was a mail-based experience, as players sent off their selections and waited, for what seemed like forever, to get stats mailed back. All hail the Internet age, when a company like Teterboro-based Fantasy Sports Marketing, part of CPR Communications, makes it easy to get into the game. Vice president and CTO Andrew Weissberg talks about sports nuts, marketing, and a complete lack of dull moments.

How did Fantasy Sports Marketing get started?

The concept was born from a client’s request for an “out of the box campaign idea.” During a brainstorming session with our creative team, I received a call from my brother reminding me of our fantasy baseball league draft that evening. I went back into the brainstorming session and suggested that we build and deploy a fantasy baseball league for a pharmaceutical client. The client loved the idea, bought into the project and had fantastic results. Our firm decided to develop and brand the FSM program, and sell it to other sponsors.

Why do you think fantasy sports leagues on the Web are so popular?

Because fantasy sports were very popular before the Internet was commercialized–done through the mail or fax. The Internet has made fantasy sports easier and far more advanced.

We used to wait for days to have our stats compiled but now it’s done in real time online. The continued growth and popularity of sports television and online sports networks has also fueled the growth of fantasy sports online. Sports marketing as an industry is exploding–analysts have estimated $5 billion will be spent on online sports marketing by 2005.

What are the advantages to having these leagues be online?

The end-user experience is so much better. From an administrative perspective, drafting a team, making lineup changes, trading players with other team owners, checking stats and league standings, etc., is much easier and timely.

Before fantasy games were offered online, end-users had to wait for their league manager to compile and distribute the stats to participants, and that took usually a week, so you never really knew how well you were doing on a particular day. Also, the integration of technologies like “trash-talking” message boards makes league competition online much more fun.

What does FSM have in the works?

We are continually enhancing our league technologies through securing third-party relationships that enhance the online experience, and coming up with new and exciting gaming offerings for our sponsors. We are in the process of developing some Web-based trivia games that will be available in the next nine to 12 months.

What do you like most about your job?

If I could totally focus my energies on marketing and operating this program, I would never go to sleep and be fine doing so. I like the diversity of my job, I do a bit of everything for our company: sales, business development, creative concept development, writing, editing, legal, and managing our technical infrastructure. There’s definitely never a dull moment. Does it make me leap out of bed in the morning? Not yet, but when I’m totally focused on growing this program and nothing else, I’m sure it will. A few sponsors, as well as the fact that my wife and I are expecting our first child in May will take care of that, I guess!

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