Canadian hopes to make fantasy sports TV channel a reality

Wed Jan 9, 2013 2:00pm EST
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* Channel would air talk shows, call-in programs

* Leonard Asper was CEO of Canwest Global

* 34 million play fantasy sports in U.S. and Canada

TORONTO, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Canada's fantasy sports geeks may soon have a cable channel to call their own, thanks to Leonard Asper, former head of a newspaper dynasty that fell victim to the rise of online media.

"The League - Fantasy Sports TV" will not feature real sporting events. Instead Asper's proposed channel will air call-in programs and talk shows that cater to the millions of North American sports fans who are now participating in virtual baseball, football and hockey leagues.

Canadian media regulators gave Asper's Fight Media Inc the go-ahead on Wednesday to operate the channel, provided it can find a distributor.

Since timely information is crucial to any fantasy player's success, Asper is betting that The League will have a hungry niche audience.

In fantasy sports, "owners" assemble their teams by drafting and trading real-life professsionals, essentially betting the players they select will get hot.

Statistics from real games - say, batting average in baseball, points scored or rebounds in basketball or touchdowns and interceptions in football - go to the virtual team that "owns" each player and aggregate to form the basis for the virtual league's standings.   Continued...