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BizReport : Research : November 27, 2006

Gamers Flocking to Fantasy Sites

Despite the United States Congress changes to online gambling, gamers are flocking to fantasy sports websites. According to the latest rankings, more than 15 million consumers and businesses are taking part in fantasy sports – football, baseball, basketball – gaming sites. Free sites seem to be gaining popularity faster than pay sites.

by Kristina Knight

Steve Snyder, senior vice president and general manager of SportsLine, said (via MediaPost) that about 75% of SportsLine's fee-based baseball leagues have been on the site at least three years, making the site “an advertiser’s dream” because players return year in and year out. SportsLine advertisers include General Motors, McDonald's, Anheuser-Busch and Coke.

But it isn’t just fantasy playing sites that are gaining a larger audience. Betting sites are also on the rise.

According to comScore, online gambling was the top-gaining category in September, despite the legislation aimed at stemming online gambling. Gambling sites saw 17% growth in September versus August. SportingBet PLC saw 5.4 million U.S. visitors (up 194%) in September.

Jack Flanagan, executive vice president of comScore Media Metrix said in a statement, “As speculation continues about the future of these online gambling sites, fans will very likely continue to turn to fantasy games on traditional sports Web sites, which also saw big increases last month.”

The increased interest and repeat visits to free fantasy playing and gambling sites creates a unique opportunity for marketers. Both men and women are playing the fantasy games, checking the websites weekly and sometimes daily. Marketers could place targeted, out-of-context ads on these sites for an increased revenue boost.

Tags: fantasy sports advertising, online advertising, online games

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