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A Lesson In Mixing Free And Premium Content From Fantasy Sports

We’re both sports nuts and among the millions of silly saps that don’t think watching and playing real sports are enough. Oh, no. You need to supplement your life with fantasy sports too. In case you don’t know what that is, you basically take real players and construct fantasy teams. The real life stats (number of home runs hit in a game for example) give your fantasy team points based on some formula. Your fantasy team competes against other fantasy teams. It might sound dumb but there really are millions of people that do this.

A long time ago people did this using pen and paper then eventually spreadsheets on their computer. Along comes interactive websites and boom! It explodes and now ESPN even talks about fantasy players and fantasy stats as part of their regular programming. A bunch of websites, ESPN, Yahoo, etc have fantasy leagues that are free to play.

What happened in the good old days was that after the games were over, their servers gathered up all of the stats, figured out how many points you gained or lost based on your active players, and adjusted your rank accordingly. So your fantasy stats didn’t update until the next day. That kind of sucked. I want to know NOW if my star running back’s 3 touchdown day moved me from 3rd place into 2nd place.

A few years ago, Yahoo, at least I think Yahoo started it, offered a subscription service. You paid a small fee and got real-time stat tracking. It was called stat tracker. Sweet.

I still remember finding out about that feature when they introduced it. OMG, OMG, OMG!! I think I almost started dancing right then and there. Yeah, umm, I signed up right away. Like right away. I barely even thought about it. In our house, we both play fantasy sports and both pay for stat tracker. It’s like $10 for the year. Per sport. Sweet.

It’s a lot like the blog plus membership site model. They give away a bunch of really valuable free content (fantasy sports where anyone can join) and make an awesome feature paid content (stat tracking, draft analysis, etc). As much as I thought it rocked, I knew it was a dagger in my wallet. I’m normally a pretty frugal guy but I knew I’d shell out at least $10 every time I played a fantasy sport to get the real-time stat tracking.

Your free content, just like the lure of fantasy sports, is a great marketing channel. So what premium content could you sell from your websites? An ebook? A private forum? A neat tool?

Skipping fantasy baseball again because it takes too much time.

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