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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bloomberg Sports' Front Office: King of Fantasy Baseball

Since the advent of fantasy sports into the mainstream and the onset of the Internet boom in the 90s, fantasy sports has been taken to unbelievable levels of fan participation.  Once a niche activity of baseball fans only, the fantasy sports spectrum spread to include legions of NFL fans and, to a lesser extent, NBA basketball, NHL hockey, PGA golf and many of the other sports.

I must confess to being a "fantasy geek" and avid participant in football, baseball and hoops.  I have gone so far as to participate in fantasy golf, college football, Olympic ice hockey, Olympic and Olympic qualifying tourney hoops and even one NASCAR league which I was coaxed into by the same person who introduced me to the hobby way back in the early 80s.  

Since the proliferation of fantasy sports online, the many destinations for sports have cashed in while providing an amazing array of statistics, rankings, cheat sheets, mock drafts, add/drop trends, editorial columns, scouting and analytics.  In that regard, the (relatively) new Bloomberg Sports Front Office is the worldwide leader.

The Bloomberg Sports team recently hosted a seminar and step-by-step demonstration of their online products for New England based sports media and bloggers.  Bloomberg had its head of sports Bill Squadron walk through the site's offerings and analytics in a 30-minute presentation that was simply fascinating for any sports fan.  The key is the depth of statistical mining that Bloomberg has undertaken in conjunction with MLB.  The beneficiaries of the work are both fans and the MLB teams themselves, as most of the clubs subscribe to a "professional" version of the software which includes an amazing blend of statistical and video analytics.

Former MLB pitching coach Rick Peterson walked the media through a few of the offerings of the professional version of Front Office 2011 and spoke of many of the trends to assist both pitchers and hitters. His presentation was informative and provided some keen insight into the stats and tendencies analyzed by pitching coaches and scouts at the MLB level.

"We had a great start last year and have added some new features and improvements for Front Office 2011," said Bloomberg's head of sports Bill Squadron.  "Our unique B-rank projections, continuously updated, prepares both expert and novice players for their draft like no other (fantasy) tool.  Throughout the season we will suggest free agents, recommend lineup adjustments and propose trades that can be fun and game-changing for fantasy baseball players."

Among the refreshing news at the seminar was the fact that Bloomberg is encouraging fans and bloggers to make suggestions for future releases of the Bloomberg front office tool.  Also, fantasy football players can expect to see an NFL version of the game to be released in the fall, provided the NFL labor situation can be resolved.

Bloomberg Front Office 2011 sells for $19.95 for the season and automatically syncs with fantasy games from CBS Sports, Yahoo and ESPN. There is also an itunes app for Ipads and tablet devices.

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