Monday, May 10, 2010

Sports Illustrated Moves into Facebook Games

THE SPORTS ILLUSTRATED DIGITAL GROUP (www.SI.com) and Watercooler Inc., a leading social game developer with a community of 30 million registered users, today announced a partnership to launch an SI-branded fantasy football game on the Facebook platform that will also live on SI.com and SI Mobile.

The game will bring together the award-winning fantasy sports resources of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED with the social features and best-in-class gaming engine that have made Watercooler a leading sports brand on Facebook-and the most popular amongst football fans. The partnership will provide a new advertising opportunity for sponsors looking to reach fantasy football fans within a branded SPORTS ILLUSTRATED environment on Facebook.

Differentiating itself from any other fantasy football experience on the web, the game extends to SI.com and SI Mobile, offering players "always on" access to their teams and offering advertisers a unique ownership platform. In addition, on all three outlets players can consume 24/7 SI.com Fantasy Intelligence Reports, including breaking news, analysis and advice, player performance updates, video reports and commentary from SI's leading fantasy and football experts.

The game experience will take unique advantage of the ease of connecting with friends on the Facebook platform by extending players' social graphs to SI.com and SI Mobile using Facebook Connect. Players will be able to share strategies, celebrate victories and commiserate losses via in-game messages and posts to their Facebook feed. Adding to the social fabric of the game, the FanZone will reward players for amassing large fan bases to cheer for their fantasy teams.

"Avid fantasy players and fans already look to SI for real-time breaking news and analysis that can provide them an edge on Sundays," said Kenneth Fuchs, Vice President and General Manager of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED DIGITAL. "Working with a partner like Watercooler-a leader in social sports application development and audience engagement-really provides SI an edge to offering the most comprehensive and accessible game on the market. With players now able to play seamlessly across Facebook, SI.com and mobile and combining our award-winning content and SI brand with Watercooler's social game engine and avid fan base should build on the success SI has had in offering scaled and innovative products at the intersection of sports and social media."

"Watercooler is not only thrilled to partner with a great brand, but to leverage Sports Illustrated's unique content to offer our users a richer, more compelling gaming experience," explained Chris Carvalho, Chief Operating Officer for Watercooler. "Sports Illustrated is very forward-looking. They understand the power of social media and how this game will engage and widen their audience. Both companies are also bullish on the growing potential of in-game microtransactions as another way to create value for users and the partnership."

Watercooler has been developing sports applications for the Facebook platform since 2007. The company publishes leading fantasy football and college basketball brackets games and has partnered with other major sports brands, including Nike, Reebok and CBS Sports.

About SPORTS ILLUSTRATED GROUP

SI is a multimedia sports brand that takes the consumer into the heart and soul of sports. The SI franchise is anchored by Sports Illustrated, the most respected voice in sports journalism which reaches a weekly audience of nearly 21 million adults, and www.SI.com, the magazine's 24/7 sports news website that delivers more than 150 original stories to its users each week along with real-time breaking news, scores, and analysis. The SI franchise also includes Sports Illustrated Kids (www.sikids.com), a monthly magazine targeted to kids age 8 and up; Golf Magazine and www.Golf.com; www.FanNation.com, a social networking and sports-news aggregation platform; SI Presents, the magazine's specialty publishing division; as well as SI Books, SI Pictures, SI Productions, SI Digital and SI Events. Founded in 1954, SI is a division of Time Inc., the world's leading magazine publishing company and a subsidiary of Time Warner.

About Watercooler Inc.

Watercooler is a leading developer and publisher of social games for Facebook and other top social networks. Founded in 2006, Watercooler has connected millions of sports and TV fans through its network of online communities, and recently expanded its expertise to develop popular, innovative and engaging social games. Watercooler's five studios create in-depth social games that are browser-based and free to play on Facebook, MySpace and other social networks. Watercooler's games and applications have over 60 million registered players and reach more than 10 million players monthly. For more information about Watercooler Inc., visit www.watercooler-inc.com.

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