Fantasy sports isn’t all good, but it sure can be fun. The fantasy (read: sedentary) version of football – and other sports for that matter – has become such a parallel to the actual sport that some of the most ardent fans actually blur the lines of loyalty between their teams and their make-believe teams. It’s a more recent phenomenon, and one that drives a lot of ad impressions and clicks for Yahoo! and a growing number of other online properties. Fantasy football has even entered U.S. pop culture in the form of an outrageously funny show on FX.
I’ve been “playing” Yahoo Fantasy Football for years and the mobile apps are a welcome addition to Yahoo’s offering. While the company opted to not developer a BlackBerry app this year (it did in the past), it has a free app for Android and iOS devices that gets treated to frequent developer updates throughout the seasons. The app isn’t as robust as the online version – there are still many features missing – but for on-the-go updates and last-minute moves before kickoff the app does a great job. Live updates happen almost instantly, which gives players the opportunity to do less math on Sundays and more always-on smack talking to their opponents. Yahoo has a pretty stable group of sponsored advertisers which get a small spot on the app in certain sections and then a carousel of banner ads that run along the bottom in most panels of the app. Still, while it could use more of the features that are enjoyed in the online version, there’s an even bigger missing piece. Running alongside our fantasy teams, many players like myself enjoy Yahoo’s Survival Football and Pro Football Pick’em. It would be nice to manage those from the app as well. All in all, the app is a must for any Yahoo fantasy player with a smart phone. And considering the price, it’s great to see Yahoo continue to put developer time and interest in the app. I only wonder how much return Yahoo gets on its investment in this mobile endeavor versus the much more sizeable ad revenues it must enjoy on the full version online.