Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Bang the Gavel: Yahoo Acquisition may Signal an End to Free Fantasy Sports

On Friday Febuary 4, Microsoft Corporation made a $44.6 billion hostile bid to take over Yahoo. Since the bid was announced, Yahoo bankers have begun to seek rival bids to acquire the Yahoo! business either in its entirety or in subparts. This deal would have huge implications for fantasy sports contestants.

Currently, it seems that Yahoo and CBS Sports (Sportsline) share category leadership in hosting fantasy sports games, with ESPN.com a close third. Amongst these three main competitors, however, only Yahoo has regularly offered free hosting services for private leagues (with additional features available at an add-on cost). CBS Sports offers a private-league hosting feature through its Fantasy Baseball Commissioner product for $129.95. Meanwhile, ESPN.com has varied its strategy from year-to-year based on marketplace trends.

Although it is far too soon to tell how the proposed Yahoo takeover will shake out, if Yahoo is acquired by another company (and especially if Yahoo Sports ultimately ends up in the hands of ESPN.com or CBS Sports), the days of free fantasy hosting may be gone. That is bad news for fantasy sports contestants who have come to rely on free gaming.

For further legal analysis on this issue, including antitrust implications of a potential Yahoo acquisition, please see my more detailed posting on this issue at Sports Law Blog. Concerned readers may also feel free to contact me directly at info@sportsjudge.com, with the subject heading of "Yahoo".




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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the note. I just sent along an email to you. Definitely want to figure out more about how consumers can get involved to stop this.

Michael Hayes said...

CBSsports.com is offering $50 off registration this year for fantasy baseball.

Check out the link here:

http://baseball.sportsline.com/splash/baseball/spln/referral?refcode=BBCA08_atpr