http://www.thehuddle.comAs fans celebrate the return of players getting back to work today, they're also going to have their mind focused on their own work as well.
For the past month, the estimated 24 million fantasy football players who spend $800 million a year on the game have sat on the sidelines as the owners and the players haggled over a new labor agreement.
With rookies and free agents not signed, it was impossible to move forward.
The loss of time has crippled the fantasy publishing business as magazines were scrapped, but with fans as hungry as ever before, the fight to get a piece of the fantasy information business is now fiercely competitive.
"Advertisers and sites have to find a way to break through the clutter," said Chris Russo, CEO of Big Lead Sports, whose Huddle.comcharges $29.95 for a season subscription. "They have to be louder and bolder than in the past because there is a lot of noise in the marketplace and there's such a short time frame to sell." Those that typically use fantasy sites to advertise its products and services include Electronic Arts (for Madden), SiriusXM and DirecTV (Sunday Ticket).
The race is not only on for attention, it's also on for good content. Russo says fans usually spend all of July studying, now they have just days and all the material, written by contributors who have been in a holding pattern all summer, will have to be formulated in the next 10 days.
Due to the fans wanting to learn as much as possible in a short period of time, Russo says he believes the fantasy information market will be more robust than ever before. Even people who have stayed out of the for-pay game might consider getting in for valuable last-minute insight.
"There's more confusion among those that play fantasy," said Russo. "What player is on what team and how does playing on that team affect how he will perform?"
Web sites might be able to make up some of what they lost, but for traditional publishers who rely on the printed word, they'd be lucky to see half the business this year as they have seen in previous years.
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