Yahoo adds MLB to its portfolio, but capturing the NFL is not likely

The MLB has picked Yahoo! as the official fantasy game for the upcoming 2014 season. Yahoo! kicked off its 2014 Fantasy Baseball with new features this year.  With the addition of the MLB, Yahoo is now the official fantasy game for 3 of the big 4 sports in United States that include the Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League. By taking over as the official fantasy game of the MLB, Yahoo has won a major victory over one of its competitor, CBS Sports, who was last year's official MLB fantasy game.

The obvious missing organization is the NFL. Although Yahoo does offer fantasy football for the NFL and research analysis point to Yahoo as the market leader for the largest fantasy sport, the NFL has invested in its own gaming platform on In addition, the NFL offers a number of other games such as weekly pick games, playoff games, and lineup games along with its traditional season long fantasy game.

FtSb says:  The move is a great win for Yahoo! as it is becoming the defacto fantasy sports gaming provider. Yahoo! has a very attractive target audience that plays fantasy sports. That target audience makes it attractive for advertisers to go to Yahoo! for its targeted online media ads.

The move is bad for the MLB. Switching fantasy game has a cost, no doubt there will be some loss of players that will now need to move from their CBS account into the Yahoo! account for the MLB. The hope is that the loss is minimal. In addition, the MLB doesn't seem to know how to manage its fantasy sports. The league tried several years ago as a game provider, but failed miserably. The NFL made a smart move by investing in their own gaming platform. The NFL can control and brand protect against such thing as gambling and the rise of the daily games. That is something they could not do, if they depended on Yahoo! as a game provider and Yahoo! decided to offer these type of games.

The MLB would need to act as its own game provider if it wants to be able to control its own direction of the fantasy game. Also keep in mind, because of the rhythm and cadence of the baseball game, the daily fantasy game may be better suited towards baseball than any other sport. Furthermore, the goal of Yahoo! for fantasy baseball is to attract more viewers to its content and that can be a conflicting goal with the MLB who's goal is to increase its revenue by the selling of its product.

Related:  Improving fantasy baseball as the 2013 season comes to a close