Advertisers are "coughing up" for the fantasy football experience, according Anthony Crupi of ADWEEK. After it "became apparent that a full season of NFL action was in the cards, marketers flooded the zone." Two weeks after the lockout ended on July 25, CBSSports.com "sold out the last available inventory on its fantasy football pages, signing Sprint, Subway, and Volkswagen as lead sponsors." Volkswagen's deal, "which is for three years, secures the exclusive automotive sponsorship of the site's fantasy football offering." The marketer is "using its affiliation with the site as a means to showcase the 2012 Passat." Yahoo Sports -- which has "more than 4 million fantasy football players, up 15 percent from a year ago -- also enjoyed an accelerated pregame sales period, lining up full-season commitments from the likes of Pizza Hut, Visa, Toyota, and Miller Lite." Websites typically have a "finite amount of ad space to sell," but fantasy games are "expanding the parameters by attaching value to the reams of available minutia." GMC sponsors ESPN.com's "Never Say Never Award," which is given to the team "able to pull out a last-minute win by the smallest margin." Yahoo Sports has a Biggest Blowout Award "sponsored by Toyota." One buyer said, "Some of the sites go a little overboard. It's like, 'This space where you can talk shit to your buddies is brought to you by Geico. The top five QBs of the week are brought to you by Pizza Hut.' But when it's just one or two lead sponsors, it's less intrusive." Crupi notes advertisers looking to "stake their claim in the arena can spread their marketing dollars across a host of less-trafficked sites like Fantasy Sports Ventures' KFFL.com and TheBigLead.com, or belly up with the big boys at CBSSports.com, Yahoo Sports, ESPN.com, and NFL.com." Media buyers said that at the bigger sites, fantasy buys "can range from $750,000 for real estate on high-traffic data and news pages to $3 million for a full-season presenting sponsorship" (ADWEEK, 11/7 issue).
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