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August 4, 2010
Free Fantasy Football Returns with New and Customizable League Features, Social Media Integrations
SportsCenter Fantasy Draft Special to Air August 19
ESPN kicks off the 2010 Fantasy Football season with the return of free ESPN Fantasy Football presented by GEICO and GMC on ESPN.com. For the 6th consecutive year, the game will once again feature a broad lineup of free features including live scoring, multiple draft options, mobile alerts and team management, fully customizable rules and scoring, and the broadest collection of expert analysis, news and statistical information available. ESPN Fantasy Football players can begin drafting (and mock-drafting) on ESPN.com now and will be served by integration across ESPN’s many media platforms.
The 2010 season marks ESPN.com’s 15th anniversary ofFantasy Football, which debuted on the digital gridiron in 1995. In a humorous depiction of the social impact of Fantasy, ESPN kicked off its “Reality of Fantasy” campaign, featuring Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson in one of several TV spots. A preview of the spots is available at https://espnpressroom.com/us/videomultimedia/.
Draft events will be held through August, hosted by radio stations across the country. On August 22, ESPN Radio 1250 will kick off its Fantasy tour in Pittsburgh, featuring Hall of Famer John Clayton, ESPN Fantasy Guru Matthew Berry, ESPN.com sports injury expert Stephania Bell, and ESPN Radio 1250’s Matt Williamson and Ken Laird. Similar draft events will be hosted in New York (August 24 & 25), Chicago (August 28), Dallas (August 29) and Los Angeles (August 29).
Across multiple platforms, ESPN will feature a complete lineup of news, information, analysis, and entertainment, including the return of Fantasy Football Now – the Emmy Award-winning live Sunday morning program, incubated on ESPN.com and now a simulcast on ESPN2 and ESPN Mobile TV. ESPN’s Berry will be the lead analyst, joined by a collection of additional contributors each week. ESPN’s digital media platforms will also feature the daily Fantasy Focus program. Other coverage via TV, radio, online, mobile and print leading up to and throughout the season includes:
ESPN FANTASY FOOTBALL
ESPN Fantasy Football will again be presented by GEICO and GMC, with added features including:
- Standard Leagues – Now supporting both 8- and 12-team league sizes, all Standard Leagues will be included in the public leaderboards.
- Public Leagues – Players can now create a Public League with customizable settings.
- Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) – Custom league players may elect to use auction bidding instead of waivers to handle free agent pickups.
- Player Watch Lists and Player Comparison – Features are now available for team owners to add/flag players and better manage the waiver wire throughout the season.
- Social Media – Share leagues or team notifications via the “Share” icon on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
Other returning free features from last season include:
- Fantasy Football Now – The Emmy Award-winning live program will start every Sunday at 11:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2, ESPN.com and ESPN Mobile TV and continue up to kickoff time. Fans will be able to watch, chat live, get injury updates, and submit questions – all from the interactive Fantasy Football Now page.
- Fantasy Focus – The originally produced daily program, exclusively on ESPN.com and ESPN Mobile TV.
- Free Live Scoring with FantasyCast – A must-have online companion during fantasy football Sundays, ESPN FantasyCast features live chat with ESPN experts, real-time player-by-player scoring, live updating box scores and results, integrated Gamecast and a comparison to the players on the opposing roster. All completely free to all players.
- Fantasy Football Draft Kit – ESPN.com’s free Fantasy Football Draft Kit will give every player complete breakdowns of sleepers, busts and top keepers; Top 200 players; position-by-position rankings; offseason changes and updated depth charts; projected stats; expert mock drafts and more.
- Mock Draft Lobby – The ESPN Mock Draft Lobby lets players drop in at any time to run through a draft, try out a new draft strategy or just see who and how other ESPN players are drafting.
- Multiple Draft Options – Teams and leagues can draft in multiple ways, including
- Online Auction Draft – ESPN.com is bringing back the option to conduct their draft auction style – bidding against other competitors for top players, and managing a total budget of $200 for drafting their roster of players.
- Live Online Draft – Live online drafts can be public or private. Set a time and invite friends, or drop by the ESPN Live Draft lobby to find a league, join, and draft — anytime day or night.
- Automated Online Drafts – Leagues will be able to set their personal player rankings, the draft order and date while ESPN.com’s draft engine does the rest.
- Keeper Options – ESPN provides league managers of existing keeper leagues the ability to transfer keeper settings by entering keepers prior to their draft.
- Draft Pick Trading – Players have the option to trade draft picks in leagues with a fixed draft order.
- League Message Boards, Chat and Polls – Players can discuss news, create their own polls and even chat online – all from right within their ESPN.com league.
- Customizable Rules and Scoring – League managers can set up their league and scoring any way they want. Your league, your way.
- Inline Player Cards – Embedded player information cards allow players to see weekly projections, recent news from ESPN.com, game-by-game stats, graph views and more without leaving their own roster.
- Smack Boards – Talk smack to your friends and opponents throughout the week and on game day using the dynamic chat windows integrated right into league and scoring pages.
- Weekly Projections and Ranks – ESPN Experts do all the work for you with both weekly player projection totals and position ranks.
On ESPN.com, players will again find the most useful and comprehensive information, analysis and insights in the industry. ESPN has assembled an unmatched roster of writers, analysts and media personalities, including:
- Berry (a.k.a. “The Talented Mr. Roto”), a five-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) award-winner, will release weekly columns on free-agent pickups, loves/hates and positional rankings;
- Award-winning analyst Christopher Harris will continue to write The Breakdown, the definitive preview of every NFL match-up of the week from a Fantasy perspective; and
- ESPN.com Fantasy Insider Eric Karabell will blog daily and post his popular weekly Flex Rankings every Thursday.
Other contributors include FSWA award-winner Tristan Cockcroft and ESPN.com sports injury expert Bell. Fans will also find football analysis and insight from ESPN.com’s leading pro football insiders, including Hall of Famer Clayton; Mike Sando, Matt Mosley, Kevin Seifert, Bill Williamson, Pat Yasinskas, Tim Graham, James Walker and Paul Kuharsky of the NFL Blog Network; and Scouts Inc.’s Williamson.
For the ultimate Fantasy player, ESPN Insider members will have access to a number of tools to help draft, manage and analyze their fantasy team. New this season is Insider Recommends, a seamless tool integrated within the ESPN.com Online Draft window that helps managers to make decisions on which player would be best to take with their next pick. For auction drafts, the tool also informs users when a player is a good value or overpriced. A free preview is currently available in ESPN.com’s Mock Draft lobbies.
Also back for the third consecutive year is Insider’s popular Draft Analyzer tool. Useful for drafts in all leagues, online and offline, ESPN Draft Analyzer assesses which player will benefit a team the most based on a roster’s needs and the players still available, and then optimizes the pick with that information.
- Fantasy Football Draft Kit Mobile App – A free mobile app for iPhone and iPod touch devices that will feature video from NFL Live and contributions from several ESPN analysts.
- Mobile Team Management – Players with access to the ESPN Mobile Web site will be able to set rosters, trade and waive players, and check scoring – all from your phone.
- Mobile Scores and Alerts – Players can keep up with their team while away, with the ability to see their team, scores and latest news on their mobile device, or have breaking news, scoring, injury and substitution alerts sent directly to you on the go (all carriers).
- Mobile TV – ESPN’s original series Fantasy Football Now will be available every Sunday from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on ESPN Mobile TV, along with other fantasy football-related video content from ESPNEWS and other ESPN programs.
TV & RADIO
This season, ESPN will once again bring fans fantasy football insights, information and analysis on its television and radio networks, including:
- SportsCenter Fantasy Draft Special: On August 19 at 7:00 p.m., ESPN will televise its fifth annual “SportsCenter Fantasy Draft Special.” The program, hosted by ESPN’s Erik Kuselias, will feature a preview special highlighted by analysis and debate from a number of ESPN analysts and experts, including Tim Hasselbeck and Berry.
- NFL Live, SportsCenter, First Take, Mike & Mike, ESPNEWS: ESPN’s signature news, information and analysis programs will feature fantasy football content integration, with additional in-depth attention to fantasy football in late August.
- ESPN Radio: Throughout the season, ESPN Radio will devote attention to fantasy football in popular programs like Mike & Mike in the Morning (simulcast on ESPN2) and on Football Tonight.
ESPN Radio and the ESPN.com PodCenter will bring fans two original podcasts dedicated to fantasy football this season:
- ESPN Fantasy Focus Football – Daily – approx. 30 minutes (5 days per week in-season only)
Hosted by Berry and Nate Ravitz, and featuring a host of guests and interviews, the podcast will provide player previews, game overviews, injury analysis with Bell and strategies. In 2009, Fantasy Focus was named in the PodcastAwards.com awards for “Best Sports Podcast” and “People’s Choice.”
- ESPN Football Today – Daily – approx. 30 minutes
Scouts Inc. talks all things football with in-depth pre- and post-game analysis, players, coaches and more.
2010 ESPN FANTASY FOOTBALL GUIDE
The sixth-annual stand-alone fantasy football publication from ESPN, is on newsstands now and features Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson. The 148-page guide delivers expert analysis and insider information from ESPN’s fantasy experts, television personalities and writers from ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. The guide, one of the top selling guides since its launch, features 650 player reports, an expert mock draft, top sleepers and busts, rookie profiles, injuries, draft strategies and a tear-out draft cheat sheet. It sells for $7.99.