Free to Play with Live Scoring, Mobile Alerts and Expert Analysis; Baseball Tonight Fantasy Baseball Draft Special to Air Thursday, March 24 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2
Opening Day is fast approaching, and ESPN is ready with the return of ESPN Fantasy Baseball on ESPN.com. For the fifth consecutive year, the game will feature a broad array of coverage across online, television, podcasts and mobile devices — all for free.
In 2010, total registered players to ESPN Fantasy Baseball were up 8 percent compared to the previous season. To kick off the 2011 season, ESPN2 will air the Baseball Tonight Fantasy Baseball Draft Special on Thursday, March 24 at 8 p.m. ET to break down this year’s roster of players and to analyze the playing field with Baseball Tonight host Steve Berthiaume featuring senior fantasy analyst Matthew Berry, ESPN.com senior writer Buster Olney, Fantasy Insider Eric Karabell, baseball analyst Doug Glanville and injury expert Stephania Bell.
ESPN Fantasy Baseball
For the fifth straight year, ESPN Fantasy Baseball will be entirely free and will deliver fans a host of advantages. Returning features for ESPN Fantasy Baseball include:
- ESPN FantasyCast: An interactive tool that uses live scoring and real-time results to track fantasy team players as the games are being played;
- Live Scoring: Live player-by-player scoring and results, including live updating box scores
- Mock Draft Lobby: Lets players drop in at any time to run through a draft, try out a new draft strategy or just see who and how other players are drafting;
- Live Draft Lobby: Allows players to find and join a league and hold a draft, anytime day or night;
- Multiple Draft Options: Including live online Auction drafts, Private drafts, Live Draft Lobby, Automated drafts and offline drafts;
- Online Draft Kit: Includes complete rankings, projections and profiles for more than 850 players, rankings for the top 100 prospects for 2011, cheat sheets and dollar values for mixed, AL- and NL-only leagues, updated average draft and auction results, draft and auction strategies, mock drafts, in-depth analysis and a look at the most pressing questions for all 30 major league teams;
- Mobile Alerts: Players can keep up with their team while away from the computer, with the ability to receive breaking news and scoring alerts directly to wireless devices (all carriers);
- Draft Pick Trading: Players have the option to trade draft picks in league with a fixed draft order;
- Player Cards 2.0: Embedded player information cards allow players to see recent news, analysis and game-by-game stats without leaving the site;
- Keeper Options: Any number of players may be kept on owners rosters from season to season without needing to be redrafted;
- Customizable Rules and Scoring: Hundreds of custom settings from roster size to transaction type to statistics used for scoring;
- League Message Boards, Chat and Polls: Players can discuss news, create their own polls and even chat online – all from within their ESPN.com league.
ESPN.com and ESPN Insider
ESPN will continue to provide the most useful and comprehensive information, analysis and insights in the industry with an unmatched roster of writers, analysts and media personalities. The ESPN Fantasy Baseball team includes Berry, Karabell, Jason Grey, Tristan H. Cockcroft, Brendan Roberts, James Quintong, AJ Mass, Nate Ravitz and injury analyst Bell. Fans will also find baseball news and insights from leading pro baseball experts, including ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark, Jerry Crasnick, Olney and Tim Kurkjian.
Additionally, ESPN Insiders receive premium access to features and tools including:
- Fantasy Baseball Draft Analyzer: This tool provides a competitive advantage on the most important day of the Fantasy Baseball season — Draft Day. As players are selected, ESPN Insider Draft Analyzer assesses which player will benefit your team the most based on your roster’s needs and the players still available, and then optimizes your pick. With Draft Analyzer, Insiders can get the player they need most and dominate the draft.
- Insider Recommends: First launched on fantasy football and new to baseball this season, this seamless tool integrated within the ESPN.com Online Draft window helps managers make decisions on which player would be best to take with their next pick. For auction drafts, the tool also informs users when a player is a good value or overpriced.
- Eric Karabell’s KaraBlog: With 2-to-5 entries each day, Eric provides expert insight into the latest news affecting fantasy players.
- Jason Grey’s Blog: As the only fantasy writer in the industry with an accredited scouting background, Jason provides first person accounts on what’s really going on with players who are breaking out or unexpectedly struggling, and also provides weekly rankings of the top prospects for fantasy still in the minor leagues.
- Buster Olney’s Blog: Daily one-stop morning shot of opinion, news and notes on all 30 teams.
- Keith Law’s Blog: Scouting and analysis focused on the top prospects and young players in the games, plus breakdowns of key trades and injuries.
- MLB Rumor Central: A daily must-read for the best reporting and insight on baseball rumors from ESPN experts.
- Advanced Analysis: Gives users access to the best from the world of advanced statistical thinking, with regular weekly contributions from top analysts at Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs, Baseball Think Factory and Baseball Info Systems.
Players will have full team management capabilities via mobile devices with access to the ESPN mobile Web. Alerts are also available for $1.99 per month featuring lineup alerts warning users of injured players in active slots, inactive players eligible for an open slot and probable pitchers on the bench. Additionally, free Fantasy Baseball news from ESPN Alerts will be available for the latest developments that could potentially impact lineup decisions. Fantasy baseball-related video content is also available on ESPN Mobile TV (via FLO TV, MobiTV and Sprint TV platforms).
The ESPN Fantasy Baseball app is now available for free on iPhone, Android and RIM devices, allowing users to:
- Access live scoring for fantasy teams, both rotisserie and H2H scoring supported;
- Access General Fantasy News, Videos and Tweets from ESPN¹s Fantasy analysts -View and post messages to your league¹s message board;
- Complete full transactions (add, remove, waiver wire pickups, propose trade) from the app;
- Track and manage multiple teams across leagues;
- View player cards.
A premium version of the app can be purchased for $4.99 that, in addition to content in the free app, allows players to receive lineup and trade alerts and access to even more news and video content from ESPN Fantasy.
ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Podcasts
This season, ESPN will continue to bring fans fantasy baseball insights, information and analysis on its television programs:
- Baseball Tonight Fantasy Baseball Draft Special: On Thursday, March 24 at 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2 will televise a 60-minute “Baseball Tonight Fantasy Baseball Draft Special.” The program — hosted by Berthiaume and featuring Berry, Olney, Karabell, Glanville and Bell — will break down each position, potential sleepers and busts, draft strategies, rookies and more. The special will re-air on ESPN at 10 p.m. ET, as well as on Saturday, March 26 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
- SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight and The Bottom Line: This week, SportsCenter is featuring a “Diamond Debate” series, an analysis of players by position with Berry and Olney. ESPN’s signature news, information and analysis programs will feature fantasy baseball content integration, including additional in-depth attention to fantasy baseball in late March. Baseball Tonight will have live news-reaction reports from Berry and Bell. The Bottom Line will integrate custom fantasy content with Baseball Tonight and live games.
- Fantasy Focus Baseball Podcast: With hosts Berry and Ravitz and producer Jay “Pod Vader” Soderberg, the podcast is one of the most popular on iTunes. With regular appearances from Bell as well as MLB reporters and players along with an assortment of celebrities, the show blends fantasy sports and pop culture into a daily experience for fans.