Going long on fantasy sports coverage

By Jake Kreinberg

An estimated 57 million people spent a combined $32 billion on fantasy sports in the U.S. and Canada last year, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. Here’s how we’re providing more fantasy coverage for football season and beyond.

Barry Bedlan

Last month, we started working with FNTSY Sports Network, the world’s first television station dedicated to fantasy sports.

To learn more about how this venture started and what it will provide our customers, I spoke with Barry Bedlan, our deputy director of sports products.

What are the benefits for our customers?

Well, it’s really twofold. The first is that we will now be able to consistently provide fantasy sports coverage three times per week during the football season through our “Fantasy Plays” columns on the sports wire. In past years, our staff would write two stories per week, at most.

These new columns will be written by the FNTSY Sports Network, which essentially covers fantasy as a beat and does it well. “Fantasy Plays” focuses on top performances from previous weeks, projected top players for future weeks, and under-the-radar players poised to break out.

And while we’ve only been able to write about fantasy football in the past, this agreement gives us the potential to cover other sports year-round from a fantasy perspective, as well.

The other primary benefit that customers will notice is that it frees up time for our reporters to include a tidbit about fantasy performances in our “The Latest” recaps on game days, such as who the star players were and whether any highly touted players turned out to be duds.

This info is broken out in such a way that customers, if they don’t have the space for it, for example, can easily remove it.

What format will this content be?

While FNTSY Sports Network produces mostly video, we’re still figuring out how it might play into our overall video strategy. For now, only text fantasy stories will be on the sports wire. They’re exclusive to AP and are written to appeal to a general audience, and are edited by our newsroom.

How has the response been from customers?

We don’t have a long history of fantasy coverage. But we do have a strong reputation for covering the NFL and sports in general, and we’re finding people are pleasantly surprised to learn that we’ve added content and analysis in fantasy.

It’s just a natural extension of, and grows the value of, our sports coverage as we look at how to best serve our customers going forward.

Where are examples of the “Fantasy Plays” columns?

A wrap-up of the previous weekend’s games.

A look at who’s worth picking up from the waiver wire.

A preview of the weekend’s upcoming games.

Jake Kreinberg

Jake is the text and multimedia product manager at The Associated Press and the former editor of Insights. He previously covered college sports as a reporter for AP and helped design its multi-year strategic plan. Have feedback about the blog? Contact us at insights@ap.org.

insights, text, sports, partnerships