Facebook goes into betting business?August 12, 2008, 9:45 am (10 years ago)
The enormous Facebook community networking website is sporting an entrenched fantasy football league amongst its countless applications, due to blackjack ace Jeff Ma (35), an MIT grad who was in the process of the real card counting group that lately was the theme of the movie "21" and the best-selling book "Bringing Down the House."
Hoping to bring in a younger age group to the game of fantasy football, Ma and his main business partner, Mike Kerns, have started up a program that makes it possible for the leagues to be organized within the well-liked communal networking site. The couple of reasons that fantasy sports are perfectly appropriate for online socializing since the leagues are usually formed by groups of friends looking to extend their bonds.
According to USA Today, almost 100 000 people had downloaded the program through August 6 after just a few weeks on Facebook. Interest will be strengthen this month as more fantasy football players take their drafts previous to the NFL season begins September 4, the paper forecasted.
Ma's company, Citizen Sports, has joined the well-known and well-liked Sports Illustrated magazine to produce the fresh Facebook group, presenting the product to its millions of users. For Sports Illustrated, it's management's original venture into the fantasy football genre, which in the history has been dominated by Yahoo.com, ESPN.com and CBS Sportsline.
Yahoo's, fantasy football website got 6.6 million U.S. visitors in the opening month of the season last year, after ESPN.com at 2.6 million visitors, comScore Inc stated.
Sports Illustrated is managed by Time Warner, and is going to be offering content for Citizen Sports' fantasy football program, managing all the publicity sales and promoting the service in its print edition and website.
"We believe this will change the fantasy landscape," explained Jeff Price, CEO of Sports Illustrated's digital operations. "The switching charges people to leave a league to come over to another website is a major obstacle," he explained, stating that he thinks it is going to be simpler for Citizen Sports since holding its program run on Facebook, where millions of users already spend hours every day, "offering fantasy football to the player rather than having the player come to you."
Sports Illustrated previously has sold season-long sponsorships for Citizen Sports' Facebook fantasy program to AT&T and the sporting goods chain Finish Line. The magazine's sales group is expecting at least 250,000 users take part in the Facebook fantasy league throughout the initial season, Price told USA Today.
Ma's Citizen Sports is planning no less than a sevenfold boost in income this year, boosted by the fresh fantasy football program together with additional obtainable social network applications established to assist people go after their preferred professional, college and high school teams in a range of sports.
Citizen Sports' monetary backers contain previous venture entrepreneur Kevin Compton, who manages the National Hockey League's San Jose Sharks, and Jeff Moorad, a previous sports agent who manages Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks.
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