FoxSports.com, which just moved out of the Fox Interactive Media (NYSE: NWS) umbrella and came under the TV side of Fox Sports and Fox Sports Chairman, David Hill, has made an interesting first move: it has tied up with OpenSports, the fantasy sports and social network startup founded last year by Mike Levy, founder and former CEO of SportsLine.com.
Under the multi-year deal, OpenSports will build out fantasy games for FoxSports.com, with a rev share component and an equity component where Fox Sports will eventually become a part owner of Open Sports (first reported by SBJ today, and confirmed by us).
It launched with two new free fantasy football games on FoxSports.com tonight; the promotion started during Fox’s broadcast of the MLB All-Star Game. After this, OpenSports will work on fantasy baseball games as well. Some more details on the games here and here.
As for the FoxSports.com move to the more logical Fox Sports family, this has been in the works for some months now (as we reported first in March, when Jon Miller came in), prior to the recent FIM and MySpace exec changes and reorg. Now that the future of FIM looks much smaller as a corporate overseer and other online brands are moving under tighter control of respective brand heads, the move means tighter integration between the online and TV unit.
FoxSports still has the deal with MSN, renewed earlier this year. Would be interesting to see how the MSN deal evolves, if at all, beyond what was re-upped this Feb: the deal included joint sales partnerships with MSN, but now with FoxSports.com being sold with the TV component and more cross-platform deals, it remains to be seen if MSN still fits in this mix from a sales perspective. Then again, the MSN firehose provides traffic Fox can’t match without a portal deal—one reason the deal was renewed. Other Fox Sports Interactive properties, including Scout.com, and WhatifSports.com brands, were merged into FoxSports.com brand hen the MSN extension deal was announced, and are also part of the Fox Sports group as well.
. A lot more on FoxSports.com’ plans going ahead was outlined in a recent AdWeekstory, including a multi-million dollar content revamp of the site and relaunch slated for September.
Meanwhile, on OpenSports, the company is closing in a $4 million round from its previous investors, the SBJ story says, on top of the $10 million it raised last year from these private investors such as E-Trade CEO Christos Cotsakos and former Office Depot Chair & CEO David Fuente.
By Rafat Ali