Updated below: ESPN is making another pitch at the lucrative fantasy sports market. The Disney network has picked up Talented Mr Roto in what might be an acq-hire (I’m still looking into terms): founder Matthew Berry is joining the company as senior director of fantasy games, fantasy sports writer and on-air analyst. The site was launched in March 2004 as an online fan group and boasts a network of more than 50 contributors (columnists, reporters, scouts and stringers) who now will feed ESPN.com. Its subscribers will get a subscription to ESPN.com’s premium service ESPN Insider. I gather the “Talented Mr. Roto” brand will remain although whether it will be a stand-alone site or a section within ESPN.com has yet to be determined.
This is only part of ESPN’s latest push into fantasy sports, which also includes free ESPN fantasy baseball — including live scoring.
Update: As promised above, I did some more digging but couldn’t come up with a specific amount. This much is clear: ESPN wanted Berry to come on board and buying the site was the way to accomplish that. (Also, Berry’s compensation and the site sale price are separate.) At the same time, it brings the network of contributors to ESPN, an unknown number of passionate roto fans and some features that can be folded into its fantasy sports offerings. One person familiar with the deal said the acq-hire description was accurate and that one number I’d heard was off by “multiples.” Another said the number was in the seven figures and I’d be wrong to say it was low. All fairly typical for this kind of deal when amounts aren’t being disclosed. The upshot: there’s no number I feel comfortable with at this point.
– SI Acquires FanNation.com; Time Inc. To Buy Interest In Parent Company
— <a href="http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/wicks-sports-group-buys-sports-sites-stsfox-and-head2head/" title="Wicks