Moneyball for 2010? Bloomberg, the financial services and data company, is branching out into sports. Squawker Lisa and I were among those in attendance Sunday at a demo of two new products - one for consumers, particularly fantasy players, and a pro product for MLB teams. Bloomberg spokespeople compared players to stocks and teams to portfolios. Fortunately, they did not compare the Mets to a financial instrument (why is the freecreditreport.com song going through my head?)
The fantasy product offers a wide range of data that can be viewed using the sorts of graphs and charts familiar to users of Bloomberg's financial products. The product also offers a feed of links to news stories on players that you can customize to select players on your fantasy team or those you are watching in advance of the draft or during the season.
The main data unique to Bloomberg is the B-rank, used to give each player an overall ranking. The algorithm used is proprietary - kind of like Bloomberg's secret sauce.
The fantasy product comes in two parts - a draft kit, which is $14.95, and a package for tracking playeres throughout the season, which is $24.95. Both pieces may be purchased together for $31.95.
Squawker Lisa and I will be getting a free home trial of the software later in the month, so we will get a much better idea then of how valuable it would be to the fantasy player. Bloomberg also hopes to market this package to the non-fantasy player, but the data-heavy package does seem more tailored to those in fantasy leagues.
Also part of the demo was the pro package, which is not simply an advanced version of the consumer product, but an advanced look at a whole range of stats that would not be relevant to most fantasy leagues, but are valuable to real teams. The demo included stats such as how often a player swung and missed at different points in the count, as well as what parts of the field players hit the ball.
When the Mets claimed that Jason Bay was a better fit than Matt Holliday for Citi Field because he pulled the ball more, they might well have been using this package to come to that conclusion, since all the teams have been given a free trial of the package through Bloomberg's partnership with MLB.
The pro package looked impressive enough for the demo that I am now worried that, once the free trial is up, the Mets will be the only team not to buy it, claiming that they are saving their money in case other packages become available in midseason.
While at the event, Lisa and I had the chance to meet some of our fellow bloggers and baseball writers, including Mike Silva (www.nybaseballdigest.com), Mark Healey (http://www.baseballdigest.com), Jay Gargiulo and the guys from (Fack Youk), Amanda Rykoff (http://ocdchick.com/), Ken Fang http://www.fangsbites.com/, Jenn from Phillies Phollowers and ESPN fantasy writer James Quintong.