Sports nerds and data junkies rejoice – Canada's broadcast regulator has cleared the way for a speciality station dedicated solely to filling the seemingly insatiable demand for sports statistics.
Fight Media Inc. can now develop a channel it will call The League – Fantasy Sports TV, and make it available as a speciality channel. It would be up to companies such as Bell Media and Rogers Communications to pick it up to offer it to their subscribers.
The company said the channel will be devoted to fantasy sports, "allowing viewers to act as owners and assume all the responsibilities associated with operating real sports franchises, and allowing viewers to create, monitor, trade and discuss players on their teams with others also playing fantasy sports."
To ensure it doesn't compete with other Canadian television stations, the company had to agree that only 10 per cent of its programming could be live sporting events.
The making and managing of imaginary sports teams has evolved into a major industry, with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimated that some 32 million people in Canada and the United States participate. The interest has spawned an industry worth an estimated $4-billion a year in North America, with magazines and websites dedicated to providing players with the statistics and management tools they need to put together better teams.
Fight Media Inc. owns The Fight Network, a speciality channel "dedicated to complete coverage of combat sports, including fights, fighters, fight news and fight lifestyle."