CBS Sports Turns to Voice to Help Fantasy Football Players

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Fantasy football is a $7-plus billion dollar a year industry in the U.S. and Canada.

Whether you are playing for bragging rights or playing for a cash payout, being able to have extra information can be crucial when competing against another player.

Traditionally, that information has been found via fantasy football insiders, a plethora of sports websites, or by looking at newspaper clippings if that is your speed.

With the rise of voice-enabled devices, it is expected that 55 percent of U.S. households will have some kind of smart speaker in their home by 2022. CBS Sports, thanks to a deal with Google, has rolled out a personalized fantasy football “General Manager” for Google Assistant.

The first-of-its-kind deal will give anyone who plays CBS Sports Fantasy Football the chance to get completely personalized, actionable guidance on which players to start, pick up or trade.

The move was done in part to keep up with the trends of where technology is headed as well as to help fantasy players save time.

“We know fantasy fans are faced with questions before and during the season, specifically which players to draft and which players to start, and we also know that fantasy players are very content hungry, consuming a lot more content than non-fantasy players,” said Jeff Gerttula, EVP & GM of CBS Sports Digital. “We really wanted to solve for the amount of time fantasy players spend on their phones and other devices checking different places for advice during the week and on Sundays, and make it very convenient to get that advice just by talking to the Assistant.”

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Only available on the Google smart products as of now, the Assistant can answer questions such as, “Who should I start? Who should I bench? Who should I pick up?” among others.

Outside of just a pure fantasy football play, Gerttula sees voice as an integral part of the digital strategy of CBS Sports.

“We think this is a very unique offering among voice actions because of the level of personalization in the directional advice we’re offering. We also think there could be an appetite for other kinds of information we could deliver via virtual assistants, such as news updates from CBS Sports HQ, our 24/7 streaming sports news network, and we’re exploring that.”

Why should you trust the Assistant? Because while it may seem like the information is just being pulled out of nowhere, it is actually built off of CBS Sports fantasy expert rankings and SportsLine data, the latter of which is a computer algorithm that projects outcomes for every sporting event.

While it seems like a great tool for fantasy football players, you’re probably thinking that this could easily be used when it comes to sports betting related content.

Luckily, Gerttula and his team are on the same page as you.

“We’re currently focused on CBS Sports fantasy players but we know that people are very interested in information around making picks. Our audience has always been interested in picks and predictive data, so we’ve long been producing content for those fans and now are presenting it in a new and unique way via the Google Assistant.”

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With this iteration of the Action live for just over a week, the adoption has been strong. Users who have engaged with the Assistant are averaging 6.5 questions per session.

For Gerttula, this is all the validation they need when it comes to the power of personalized content and whether or not this offering can work going into the future.

“With our Assistant Action making calculations on the fly and generating responses that are specific to that person and their fantasy team, no two people will ever get the same response. It’s a really invaluable tool.”