AOL Tosses Free Fantasy Football Bomb At Yahoo, MSN

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Another option for fantasy football fans launches from AOL, which hopes to capitalize on fantasy popularity.

The rapid growth and rabid pursuit of fantasy sports leagues by fans everywhere has helped resurrect interest in sports for many people. Fantasy football ranks number one in that interest, according to a University of Mississippi survey of fantasy players.

Yahoo has been a big player in the field, first offering free fantasy football to its users, then breaking out a for-pay version with extra features like real-time scoring. Yahoo also sells value-added products like draft kits and scouting reports.

MSN recently announced a partnership with FOX Sports, where it will introduce fantasy football this season and include real-time scoring and other premium features for free. With the service being free, MSN must hope to profit from online advertising, a model that has served Yahoo well.

Now, AOL joins the free fantasy football ranks, and will provide a draft party sweepstakes as an enticement to players. The winning league will have up to 20 of its members flown to Las Vegas for a stay at The Palms Casino Resort, where they will hold their league draft.

AOL will also award $15,000 to the winning league’s members as spending money. And twenty other leagues will receive a $500 cash prize for their own draft parties.

“AOL Fantasy Football engages that growing market of consumers interested in a premier fantasy football experience — all for free, including the convenience of live scoring and scouting reports coupled with a great selection of prizes that distinguishes our fantasy games from any other offering in the marketplace,” said Carlos Silva, SVP of AOL News & Sports.

By opening nearly all of its content and services to the broadly available Internet instead of keeping it within a walled subscription-only presence, AOL has begun a transition from online service provider to web portal company, supported by advertising revenue.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

AOL Tosses Free Fantasy Football Bomb At Yahoo, MSN
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