MSN fields LivePlanet fantasy game
MSN and LivePlanet are teaming up to turn fantasy baseball into an online reality show.Netco next month will launch “Fan Club: Reality Baseball,” an interactive Internet series that allows viewers to make decisions for a minor league baseball team outside Chicago. Production shingle LivePlanet, which did “Project Greenlight” for Bravo, has been bouncing the idea around for years, looking for the right platform to create a viable interactive series. MSN will air video highlights of games, along with off-field footage of players and their families, in order to bring viewers into the world of the Schaumburg Flyers, which is not affiliated with a major league franchise. “We’ll cover the team on and off the field, so fans can base their decisions on statistics or on what’s going on in the lives of characters we bring to life,” explained Keith Quinn, LivePlanet senior VP of development and production. Viewers will be able to make decisions such as batting lineup and which pitchers start; however, they can’t intentionally mess with the team by putting players in positions they’re not qualified to play. Series will start July 11, allowing viewers to control the second half of the Flyers’ minor league season. In the Northern League, where the team plays, the winners of each half of the season meet in the final playoffs. MSN and LivePlanet are hoping to take advantage of growing interest in fantasy sports, combining it with the appeal of sports movies like “Bull Durham.” If it’s successful, both parties are hoping to extend the concept to other teams and even other sports. MSN recently signed a development deal with Ben Silverman’s Reveille shingle and is actively looking for other content, but “Fan Club” will be the first original series it launches. Netco is funding production and will share advertising and sponsorship revenues with LivePlanet.