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With Internet-connected TVs hitting the market this fall, look for television to get its app store moment. Widget makers will flood your TV with nifty tools that allow you to do all sorts of things with the click of a remote. Rallycast is among the first leading this charge, and is looking to establish a beachhead on your broadband TV through fantasy football.
Rallycast is a TV widget built on the Yahoo widget platform (s YHOO), and while it offers a number of features like Facebook and Twitter integration, its primary function is to connect you to sports. A free version of the widget provides sports scores that you can bring up while you’re watching TV, but for $59.95 (per season), users can connect to their fantasy football teams to view stats, standings, and make substitutions on-screen.
In the “free” age, one might scoff that the company is charging for its service from the get-go, but according to David Adams, Rallycast vice president of business development, there are nearly 30 million fantasy sports participants in the U.S., and they spend an average of $400 a year on their fantasy activities.
Adams also said that 90 percent of fantasy footballers have a laptop open while watching games, so the company believes there is an opportunity to take out that computer middleman by putting that information on-screen.
Eventually, Rallycast plans to add more features to its widget, such as the ability to follow more sports, a news ticker, shopping (think: pizza delivery), and picture-in-picture video.
Because Rallycast uses the existing TV remotes, some parts of it are clunky. Facebook integration is vaguely social viewing, but it only provides for general status updates, wall postings and direct messages (and those all need to be typed out using an on-screen keyboard).
Rallycast is currently available only on Samsung TVs but will expand this fall as Yahoo’s widget platform becomes available on more brands by the end of this year.
Rallycast was founded a little over three years ago and is currently based in Portland, Ore. The company is privately funded and has 12 employees.