Fisher Communications, which runs the ABC affiliates in Seattle and Portland, has signed a deal for a service that forecasts how local sports teams will do in their next game.
Through a licensing arrangement with Los Angeles-based AccuScore, the stations gain access to its detailed projections derived from computer simulations.
Initially, the Fisher stations have added a "Game Forecasts" section to their companion Web sites, where users can view prognostications for all events in all major sports leagues and top college conferences.
Fisher stations are also considering using them on-air, perhaps via a ticker during the sports portion of a newscast or as grist for sports reports. The precise and oft-entertaining projections -- which go so far as to use decimal points -- cover not only the score, but how individual players might perform. "We want to make sure we're exact and it's up to the consumer to round it up or round it down," an AccuScore spokesman said.
In Seattle, fans visiting KOMO's site before the hometown Seahawks faced off against San Francisco would have seen a projection that the local NFL team would lose 21.4 to 20.1. Its quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck, was to have thrown for 234.8 yards and 1.5 touchdowns. Portland Trailblazers fans will have to wait until the NBA season to get AccuScore's take on their team at KATU.com.
Troy McGuire, vice president of the Fisher Interactive Network, said the service can "add value for our online users and sponsors as it produces 'sticky' content -- the kind that attracts and keeps users on the site, which is ideal for advertisers."
AccuScore bills its data as beneficial to fantasy sports enthusiasts. Fisher sportscasters could use the projections as a way to close a report. On Sept. 18, the 11 p.m. sports report on KVAL in Eugene, Ore. might have offered the forecast that the University of Oregon football team would slip by Utah the day after -- 26.5 to 25.
A Fisher spokesman said the company may opt to run the prognostications on a ticker during a sportscast. And KVAL may use them as a featured component of its weekly "Inside the Pac" program that covers the Pac-10 conference. (Oregon and Oregon State are members.).
Five-year-old AccuScore provides data to a run of stations, including the ABC affiliate in Dallas and Fox outlet in Detroit, which have used its projections on-air. Terms of its deal with Fisher -- which has 13 full-power stations, including the CBS outlets in Boise and Bakersfield, Calif. -- were not disclosed.
AccuScore "forecasts the future of sports, just like the weather forecast predicts the weather," said AccuScore CEO Jason Manasse. While running 10,000 simulations to project a game's results, statistics from past years, coaching tendencies and the expected weather conditions are all run through the computer.
AccuScore has deals with the New York Post, which runs its projections online, and The Wall Street Journal, which does so in its print edition. It also has linked with a run of sports Internet sites; a subscription service is available on its Web site.