Fantasy football’s a big deal these days, and networks have tried all sorts of approaches to covering it. CBS’ free streaming service CBS Sports HQ is doing a particularly interesting one on Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 3), broadcasting a seven-hour fantasy football telethon that will take fan questions live, with even a whole slew of former NFL players working the phones. Here’s more from their release:
The fantasy telethon, powered by Dodge, will deliver real-time draft advice for fantasy owners with detailed breakdowns of SportsLine projections, expert rankings, sleepers, and busts from 3-10 pm ET on Monday, September 3 on CBS Sports HQ and CBS Sports’ Facebook and Twitter channels. CBS Sports fantasy experts and NFL writers and analysts including Jamey Eisenberg, Dave Richard, Pete Prisco, Will Brinson, Jason La Canfora, Danny Kanell, Bryant McFadden, Todd Fuhrman, Nick Kostos, and Chris Hassel will be on hand to answer fantasy players’ draft day questions live and offer advice and in-depth analysis.
In addition, former players including James Jones, Mike Sims-Walker, Beanie Wells, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, LenDale White, Santana Moss and Lee Evans will be answering fan phone calls live on air and offering on-the-spot fantasy insight and expertise. The telethon will feature interviews with Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Dalvin Cook, Davante Adams and others as well.
A live fan draft will also take place during the telethon with fantasy experts Heath Cummings and Adam Aizer and CBS Sports HQ contributor Hana Ostapchuk on site to assist the fantasy players as they try to put together a winning team.
This could be a cool way to try and boost the profile of CBS Sports HQ, especially with the involvement of all these former players and some pretty notable analysts. And there’s a good cause involved as well, as CBS will “shine a spotlight on St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® in support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month” during the program. This will be the third consecutive year they’ve partnered with St. Jude to raise awareness of pediatric cancer during September.
This could also boost CBS’ presence on the fantasy side, something they’re trying to do on a couple of different fronts. They announced earlier this month that they’ve launched a voice-enabled fantasy advice program on the Google Assistant (through Google Home speakers or Android phones and mobile devices), and that particular approach works on a couple of levels; it provides general advice on players for both standard and PPR leagues, based on CBS and SportsLine rankings and projection data, but offers more personalized lineup and roster construction advice to CBS Sports Fantasy Football players.
“Through our investment in the exciting voice technology of the Google Assistant, our goal is to save fantasy players time and eliminate friction involved in searching for draft and lineup advice across multiple sources and devices,” said Jeff Gerttula, the executive vice president and general managers of CBS Sports Digital. “Using the Assistant as a fantasy football hotline will be a powerful tool for all fantasy players to build and manage a winning team, and invaluable for CBS Sports fantasy players in getting fast, personalized in-season updates and guidance.”
So CBS is clearly trying to go big on fantasy, and they’re bringing a couple of new approaches to that. We’ll see how that works out for them.