Open Sports Network said it has raised $4 million to create social games in the fantasy sports game genre.
Fox Sports is one of the backers and it has negotiated a five-year exclusive deal under which Open Sports Network will make fantasy sports game for FoxSports.com. Fox Sports Chairman David Hill will join Open Sports’ board. The deal fits a pattern where established media companies are turning to game companies to boost interest and fan engagement with traditional web sites.
The Open Sports games will cover fantasy football, baseball and other categories of sports games. The initial group of games were unveiled last week and include FOX Fantasy LIVE, FOX Fantasy Quick Challenge and FOX Fantasy — all focused on football. Fox will own 20 percent of Open Sports and will provide $20 million worth of promotion through its various networks. Fox’s sports sales team will also sell ads for Open Sports and share revenue.
Open Sports was started in March 2008 by Mike Levy, former chief executive of SportsLine.com. The company has 51 employees. Its competitors include ESPN.com, YahooSports.com, and CBSSports.com. To date, the company has raised $14 million.