NBC aims to score with fantasy football
The Peacock Network is launching a fantasy football contest tied to its Sunday night NFL telecasts.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- NBC will air National Football League games this fall for the first time since the end of the 1997 season. And now, the network is also hoping to make a splash in the increasingly popular fantasy football realm as well.
The Peacock Network announced Monday that it will launch a fantasy game tied directly to its Sunday night prime-time football telecasts. The free game was designed by AllstarStats/Rotoworld.com, a company that focuses specifically on fantasy sports.
Fantasy players will be able to participate in a weekly contest on NBCSports.com, Rotoworld.com or by cell phone and will only be able to pick players that are taking part in the Sunday night games. The contestants will receive points based on the actual statistics of the players they chose.
The contest will officially kick off with the first game of the NFL season, which will be broadcast on NBC on Thursday, Sept. 7. That game features the Miami Dolphins playing the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. NBC's first Sunday night game features that New York Giants against the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 10.
NBC, which is owned by conglomerate General Electric (Charts), is hoping to lure fans to its fantasy football site by offering players the chance to win prizes such as trips to New York to watch future Sunday night games with the hosts of NBC's pregame show and high-definition TVs.
"Creating a new fantasy football product specifically around our 'NBC Sunday Night Football' telecast enhances the overall viewer experience and provides another compelling reason for the millions of fantasy football enthusiasts to watch our Sunday Night broadcasts," said Gary Zenkel, NBC Sports' executive vice president of strategic partnerships, in a statement.
NBC, which has finished in fourth place among 18-49-year-old viewers for the past two television seasons, is hoping that its Sunday football telecasts will be a big ratings winner that it can also use to promote new shows.
And fantasy sports has become a lucrative business for other media companies, including Yahoo! (Charts), Walt Disney's (Charts) ESPN, CBS (Charts), News Corp.'s (Charts) Fox and Time Warner's (Charts) AOL. (Time Warner also owns CNNMoney.com.)
Most fantasy sites are free and supported by advertising, and media experts say big consumer companies are eager to target fantasy players, who are mainly married males with relatively high incomes.