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Fantasy football key to NBC Sports site revamp

Blogs, e-mail questions, video commentary, links to NFL stories and columns to follow Allstar Stats integration.

The week that regular-season "Sunday Night Football" debuts, NBC Sports will transform its Web site to include more fantasy sports and in-depth football coverage with a new online editorial team.

The new NBC Sports Web site will feature not only football but eventually will attempt to encompass major sports, including Major League Baseball, the NBA, college football and basketball, golf, tennis and the Olympics. The content won't immediately include video highlights--NBC doesn't have the rights to that--but the company means to make it a fully featured sports data and content site.

"We'll in the coming months roll out a full sports offering," said Gary Zenkel, executive vice president of strategic partnerships at NBC Sports.

For football, which will be the site's first major focus, NBCSports.com will feature video and analysis from "Sunday Night Football" figures such as John Madden, Cris Collinsworth and Jerome Bettis.

There also will be blogs, e-mail questions and links to top NFL-related stories from around the country. Former Providence Journal sportswriter Tom Curran will be NBCSports.com's national NFL writer, with longtime Los Angeles Times sports reporter Alan Abrahamson serving as a columnist for the site.

Meanwhile, NBC Sports has acquired Allstar Stats, a 17-year-old Somers, N.Y., company that will become the basis of NBCSports.com's fantasy group to be headed by Allstar Stats co-founder Richard Pike. Allstar Stats had operated Rotoworld.com, an established player in the fantasy-sports business. Last month, NBC Sports announced an alliance with Rotoworld to create a fantasy football competition based on "Sunday Night Football."

"Knowing that fantasy is such an enormous driver of traffic and revenue in the online sports world, we wanted to get in aggressively in fantasy sports," Zenkel said. "With Rotoworld, there's a lot of fantasy competence that we can tap into immediately."

Another critical component is an alliance with 150-200 NBC affiliates, which will share video and other sports information with NBCSports.com, and the larger site's video and other content will be available on the local sites, too.

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