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Arizona Republic Reports Sale of Head2Head Sports


Fantasy sports site sold to NY investors

Jane Larson
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 27, 2007

A Scottsdale Airpark pioneer in Internet fantasy sports has been acquired by a New York investment group.

Head2Head Sports will remain in Scottsdale, and new owner Wicks Sports Information plans to expand it with statistical and other services aimed at hard-core sports fans, said Carl Fazio, chief operating officer of Wicks Sports Information. Wicks was attracted to Head2Head by the quality of the site and fans' willingness to spend on fantasy sports, he said.

"Our strategy is to identify high-quality products and services for the sports enthusiast," Fazio said. "We're excited to work with them." Wicks Sports Information also owns horse racing's Daily Racing Form and football and basketball publications. It is part of the Wicks Group of Cos. LLC, a private equity firm that specializes in communications and media.

The two firms closed the deal this month. Head2Head President Kevin Gralen declined to disclose the purchase price for the privately held firm.

Wicks also plans to grow Head2Head by expanding its live events and operating more games under private labels, Gralen said. Head2Head has operated the fantasy sports portion of The Arizona Republic's Web site, azcentral.com, for several years.

Fantasy games attract more than 15 million players a year and generate $1.5 billion in economic impact, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Head2Head's niche in the industry is contests. In its online salary cap game, players get a fictitious $100 million to assemble a team. Head2Head awards points weekly based on the team members' performances, and playoff winners get cash prizes of up to $25,000.

The company was founded in 1994 and has a staff of four, which can triple during football season. The acquisition gives Head2Head a partner as the fantasy sports industry consolidates and attracts mainstream players such as Yahoo Inc. and ESPN, Gralen said.