Sports already dominates many people’s lives, but since the emergence of digital sports applications, being a sports fan has been taken to another level. Being a sports fan now is more than just turning on your television and watching your favorite sporting events, then catching up with the rest of the sports world on SportsCenter; the internet now provides a plethora of games, resources and applications to keep sports fans more engaged than ever.
The leading independent sports site in the digital sports world is Fantasy Sports Ventures, now known as Big Lead Sports (a.k.a. TheBigLead.com). FSV was founded four years ago and began with a focus on fantasy football, baseball and all its growing business offshoots. Before FSV’s creation, founder Chris Russo and current Executive Vice President & Chief Affiliate Officer Clay Walker worked very closely to launch the digital platforms for the NFL, and helped create their entrance into the digital sports world on NFL.com. Along with veteran digital sports exec Evan Kamer and others, they saw a larger opportunity and began the formation of a new kind of media company.
FSV’s vision thereafter was to create a company by pairing up with smaller digital sites that covered fantasy sports and had loyal followers, but didn’t have big brand names to back them. In 2007 and 2008, FSV aggregated the best of those sites and created a digital media company based on fantasy sports. Part of FSV’s expansion in 2008 went beyond just fantasy sports and included delving into the digital basketball world as well. They were able to acquire some high quality basketball content sites like HoopsHype.com and Hoopsworld.com, immediately becoming a leader in the digital basketball world. In the last three months, FSV has changed all of it’s branding to Big Lead Sports because the name is more publicly recognized and more attractive to the audience as the leader in independent sports. The company has over 18 million monthly visitors, making it one of the largest sports sites on the web, usually in the top five or six of all sports sites, along with others like Yahoo! Sports, ESPN, FOX Sports and AOL FanHouse.
Many of us research our favorite teams or players online and participate in fantasy sports, which for the most part is free, but we all know money is behind every operation. Media companies like Big Lead Sports help bring advertisers to the smaller sites and transactions are made, but what is the money making potential in digital basketball? Big Lead Sports EVP Clay Walker says there’s a lot of money to be made.
“I think there’s a huge upside there because people want the information on multiple devices and they’re willing to pay for it,” says Walker. “You can play the games in fantasy basketball [on fantasy specific sites], but you want to make a trade, you have to plug in and pay a dollar or make a transaction on your mobile device. The statistical data is out there, but people want to follow rumors. As soon as they have mobile apps to push out that information, I think that’s a real opportunity there. Rumors and trades are the big things.
“It’s a revenue share,” continues Walker. “We sell advertising for these smaller sites on their behalf. We can reach the national advertising folks and they can’t. We like to go into the marketplace and sell Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, etc. We really are in the business of packaging and promoting them to brand marketers. Big sites don’t just do sports or one specific sport. A site like RotoEvil.com does one thing and does it better than anyone else in the world, because it’s the only thing that he does.”