NCAA March Madness comes to Halifax

Halifax’s SportsDirect Inc. announced today that it will provide USA TODAY with a full suite of fantasy contests in several sports this year, including baseball, pro football, college basketball and college football. The collaboration will include an offering of college basketball contests to at least 24 affiliates of USA TODAY parent company Gannett Co, Inc.

While SportsDirect has been providing comprehensive statistical sports information to USA TODAY for the past eight years, this is the first fantasy sports product they have worked on together.

“SportsDirect has proven to be one of our most valued partners in terms of the depth and quality of content it provides as well as customer service,” said Gary Kicinski, Deputy Managing Editor/Sports at USA TODAY. “Moving into the fantasy sports games space with SportsDirect is a perfect next step for us and we’re confident our readers will enjoy the addition of the new games.”

In 2009, SportsDirect will provide a minimum of seven fantasy sports games that will appear on USATODAY.com beginning with two NCAA Tournament contests. The first contest allows bracket players the traditional option of predicting the perfect bracket before the tournament begins while the other gives hoop heads the opportunity to adjust their selections after each round. A grand prize of $100,000 is available if one fortunate player can complete the elusive perfect bracket.

Fantasy sports games have exploded in recent years – according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, there are now more than 27 million fantasy sports players in the US and annual revenue is in the range of $800 million to $1 billion.