Yahoo Buying Into Fantasy Sports


Mobile and online fantasy sports could be a lucrative new revenue stream

Yahoo is buying fantasy sports company Citizen Sports, an enterprise co-founded by an MIT graduate whose card-counting skills helped him win millions of dollars in blackjack and spawned a film and a best-selling book, reports Associated Press.

The agency names Jeff Ma, famous for his card counting antics in Las Vegas and Atlantic City that inspired "Bringing Down the House" and, more recently, the movie "21," as the founder of Citizen Sports in 2004, along with business partner Mike Kerns, which the duo have agreed to sell to Yahoo.

Citizen Sports offers fantasy leagues for sports such as football, soccer and basketball that fans can manage online at social-networking sites and through mobile applications for Apple's iPhone and smart phones running Google Inc.'s Android operating software.

AP opines that Yahoo's objective is to boost its social-networking offerings, an area in which the company has struggled despite its massive Internet audiences.

Yahoo did not release financial details of the purchase, which it expects to close by June.

AP reports that millions of people participate in fantasy leagues, where participants rack up points based on the performance of the sports players they pick to be on their make-believe teams.

Yahoo said Wednesday that Citizen Sports will be integrated with content from its sports news and information site, Yahoo Sports, and vice versa. The fantasy sports site now has 39 million unique visitors in the U.S. each month.

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