Bloomberg targets fantasy baseball fans with mobile tools
By Dan Butcher
March 14, 2011
Bloomberg Sports taps Roundarch and JWT
Bloomberg Sports has rolled out mobile versions of Front Office 2011, a fantasy baseball draft kit that uses Bloomberg’s proprietary scientific algorithms, for users of Apple's iPad and iPhone.
Powered by developer Roundarch, the application targets fantasy baseball players and fans, helping them to prepare for the start of the fantasy baseball season. The mobile draft prep app gives fantasy players up-to-the-minute projections and rankings, and is designed to help players get ready as the draft approaches and use as a resource during the draft.
“We’ve made some changes this year which we feel will make it much more compelling and valuable for fans and fantasy players,” said Bill Squadron, head of Bloomberg Sports, New York. “With the iPhone and iPad apps we’ve released, we’re focusing on fantasy draft preparation, and they are also designed to help you during the draft.
“We allow fantasy players to sync the app with their league,” he said. “The app is attuned to the users’ settings and provides recommendations and rankings are directly tied to the point system of the league they are playing in, whether it is Yahoo, ESPN or CBS.
“Enter your credentials and you are automatically synced to your league, and the app automatically responds to that set of rules to optimize the rankings.”
Launched in 2010, Bloomberg Sports takes the tools developed by Bloomberg, a global provider of data and analytics, and applies them to the vast data analysis opportunities in sports.
Working with MLB.com and NFL.com, Bloomberg Sports fantasy products give fans resources as they draft and manage their fantasy teams.
Additionally, Bloomberg Sports provides a professional product that delivers Major League Baseball clubs with a set of analytical functions to assist them in personnel evaluation and performance matchups.
Bloomberg’s agency of record is J. Walter Thompson, or JWT.
Roundarch designs and implements digital experiences such as Web sites, rich Web applications, mobile apps, social media applications and digital marketing campaigns for clients such as Avis, HBO, Hershey’s and the U.S. Air Force.
Targeting both the hardcore fantasy player and the casual fan, the Bloomberg Sports Front Office 2011 product suite focuses on translating detailed, data-driven calculations into tools for PCs and mobile devices.
This newest product, Front Office 2011–Draft Kit, is a fantasy draft kit that updates throughout spring training, making sure users are always on top of the latest injuries, news, roster moves and player projections, which ensures they have the most decisions right through the start of baseball season.
“In addition to career stats, we’ve added nine fantasy factors that add or subtract weight from the way we rank a player—durability, consistency, the ballpark he plays in and luck, where we look at a player’s batting average on balls in play and figure that his luck is likely to even out,” Mr. Squadron said.
“We think sports fans touch pretty much every media platform, watching on TV, listening on the radio, checking scores online and they always have their mobile device on them,” he said. “When it comes to covering baseball, we have to be everywhere they are.”
The apps rank MLB players by projected fantasy value
The iPhone application is priced at $1.99, the iPad app at $4.99 and the online desktop version Front Office $19.95 for the season
Traditionally draft preparation has required in-depth research across multiple sources, and is often based more on opinion rather than fact, per Bloomberg.
However, the Front Office 2011 product suite creates its recommendations and rankings based on the user’s fantasy settings tied to their own league, which means tailored advice designed to help them win.
“We have unique ranking systems—everyone does projections and has an option,” Mr. Squadron said. “Our ranking system is based on a sophisticated set of algorithms, and it is the most accurate ranking system out there.”
Tex is projected to hit 35 bombs this season
Bloomberg and Roundarch will also introduce additional mobile applications for in-season use such as Front Office 2011–Trade Analyzer.
Bloomberg’s broad marketing campaign applies both to mobile platforms as well as the online Front Office product. It spans print, radio, online, email outreach, partnerships with publishers such as USA Today, as well as promotion on Bloomberg.com and Bloomberg Mobile to get the word out.
Bloomberg Sports also works closely with Rick Peterson, the former New York Mets and Oakland A’s pitching coach, who is helping the company communicate with the fans about its Front Office product.
“We had some good success with the Decision Maker app, and we learned a few things,” said Rob Bischoff, engagement director at Roundarch, New York. “People are looking for an extension of the desktop app on their mobile device, but it is not a direct port.
“We’re leveraging some similar content, but we’re looking at it from a mobile context,” he said. “From a mobile perspective in 2011, we’re releasing things in stages—Front Office 2011–Draft Kit, Trade Analyzer, Lineup Manager to make daily roster decisions and the Free Agent Finder.
“These apps feature the most up-to-date draft tracking you can get.”
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