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Publication numberUS20070060380 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/595,310
Publication dateMar 15, 2007
Filing dateNov 10, 2006
Priority dateFeb 11, 2005
Publication number11595310, 595310, US 2007/0060380 A1, US 2007/060380 A1, US 20070060380 A1, US 20070060380A1, US 2007060380 A1, US 2007060380A1, US-A1-20070060380, US-A1-2007060380, US2007/0060380A1, US2007/060380A1, US20070060380 A1, US20070060380A1, US2007060380 A1, US2007060380A1
InventorsMace McMonigle, Scott Thomas, Shawn Giffin, Neil Pennella, Aurora Christidis, James Brennan
Original AssigneeThe Score Line Channel, Llc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Fantasy sports television programming systems and methods
US 20070060380 A1
Abstract
Systems and methods are disclosed that enable fantasy betting sports games via the Internet and a comprehensive all-sports social networking community for sports fans, virtual sports bettors and sports gamers. The systems and methods include Internet-enabled interactive display systems located at player sites. An Internet-enabled server system is provided for generating a television channel comprising the fantasy betting sports games, fantasy sports games, real-time live off-shore and domestic odds, short segment video content from sports handicappers relating to the fantasy betting sports games. sports prognosticator predictions, and all-sports social networking services and programs. The display systems are used to select and view the fantasy betting sports games, odds, and sports handicapper content. The sports handicappers also provide personal, interactive advice via premium priced appointments, selectable from the display systems. An Internet-based communication link is coupled between the server system and the interactive display system for communicating sports handicapper selections made at the interactive display system to the server system and for communicating the fantasy betting sports games, off-shore and domestic odds, and handicapping information from the server system to the display system.
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Claims(32)
1. A fantasy television system, comprising:
an Internet-enabled interactive display system located at a consumer site for selecting a professional handicapper whose handicapping information is desired;
an Internet-enabled server system for storing handicapping information derived from one or more professional handicappers for purposes of information and playing fantasy betting sports games; and
an Internet-based communication link coupled between the server system and the interactive display system for communicating the selection from the interactive display system to the server system and for communicating the handicapping information from the server system to the display system.
2. The system recited in claim 1 wherein the server system transmits real-time odds derived from one or more off-shore and domestic sports books for purposes of information and playing the fantasy betting sports games.
3. The system recited in claim 1 wherein the display system comprises an interactive television system.
4. The system recited in claim 1 wherein the display system comprises a web-enabled computer device.
5. The system recited in claim 1 wherein the display system comprises a wireless device and the communication link is wireless.
6. The system recited in claim 1 wherein the display system comprises a wireless interactive display system and the communication link is wireless.
7. The system recited in claim 1 wherein the communication link is a wired communication link.
8. The system recited in claim 1 wherein the communication link comprises a telecom provider and/or company
9. The system in claim 1 where the communication link comprises a handheld device.
10. The system recited in claim 1 wherein the server system comprises a website and wherein the display system comprises a web-enabled computer device that displays the fantasy betting sports games, and the handicapping information when the web-enabled computer device is linked to the website.
11. The system recited in claim 1 wherein the handicapping information comprises video content that may be used for general information purposes.
12. The system recited in claim 1 wherein the handicapping information comprises video content that may be used to play selected fantasy betting sports games.
14. The system recited in claim 1 wherein the handicapper provides personal, interactive advice via an appointment.
15. The system related in claim 1 where the handicappers are in a pool of more than one, and members can select to use one or more handicappers per game.
16. The system related in claim 1 wherein handicapper information is customizable.
17. The system related in claim 1 where the professional handicappers and amateur handicappers compete.
18. The system related in claim 1 where certain handicappers have their own blogs.
19. The system recited in claim 1 further comprising:
a social networking website that allows consumers to access casual games, rotisserie games and fantasy gambling games.
20. The system recited in claim 19 further comprising:
a web-based audio-video content website that allows consumers to store audio and video content for retrieval by other consumers, and that is accessible by way of the server system and the social networking community or site.
21. The system recited in claim 1 further comprising:
a web-based audio-video content website that allows consumers to store audio and video content for retrieval by other consumers, and that is accessible by way of the server system and the social networking community or site.
22. The system recited in claim 1 wherein the Internet-enabled server system implements community and social networking within the context of the fantasy betting sports game.
23. A method comprising:
providing an Internet-enabled interactive display system located at a consumer site;
providing an Internet-enabled server system that stores handicapping information derived from one or more professional handicappers for purposes of information and playing a fantasy betting sports game;
selecting a professional handicapper at the interactive display system whose handicapping information is desired to play the fantasy betting sports game;
communicating the selection from the interactive display system to the server system via the Internet; and
communicating the handicapping information relating to the fantasy betting sports game from the server system to the display system via the Internet.
24. The method recited in claim 23 further comprising communicating real-time odds derived from one or more off-shore and domestic sports books from the server system to the display system for purposes of information and playing the fantasy betting sports games.
25. The method recited in claim 23 wherein the display system comprises an interactive television system.
26. The method recited in claim 23 wherein the display system comprises a web-enabled computer device.
27. The method recited in claim 23 wherein the display system comprises a wireless device and the television signal is wirelessly transmitted.
28. The method recited in claim 23 wherein the display system comprises a wireless interactive device and the television signal is wirelessly transmitted.
29. The method recited in claim 23 further comprising:
providing a social networking website that allows consumers to access casual games, rotisserie games and fantasy gambling games from the display system.
30. The method recited in claim 29 further comprising:
providing a web-based audio-video content website that allows consumers to store audio and video content for retrieval by other consumers, which website is accessible to consumers by way of the server system and the social networking community or site.
31. The method recited in claim 29 further comprising:
presenting advertisements to consumers by way of the server system and interactive display system; and
rewarding consumers for watching the advertisements.
32. The method recited in claim 23 further comprising:
providing a web-based audio-video content website that allows consumers to store audio and video content for retrieval by other consumers.
33. The method recited in claim 23 wherein the Internet-enabled server system implements community and social networking within the context of the fantasy betting sports game.
Description
TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to digital television services, Internet services and mobile and wired telecom provider and/or company services and more particularly, to systems and methods for presenting fantasy betting sports games, fantasy sports games, sports prognosticator predictions, all-sports social networking services and programs and live off-shore and domestic US odds to players of both fantasy betting and other standard fantasy sports games and members of a comprehensive all-sports social networking community for sports fans, virtual sports bettors and sports gamers.

BACKGROUND

In order to fully understand the present invention, fantasy games are defined as all fantasy games that in any manner are based upon, pertain to, or are associated with actual sporting events and actual sports figures. Fantasy games may include, but are not limited to (1) “standard fantasy betting sports games” which are currently available, (2) “enhanced fantasy betting sports games” in accordance with the present invention which are based upon live off-shore and domestic US odds, (3) “standard fantasy sports games” (“rotisserie league games”) which are those fantasy games wherein users build fantasy teams and leagues by drafting or trading sports figures from real teams and collect points based on how those sports figures play in the real world. Standard fantasy sports games do not use or rely on off-shore and domestic US odds, and (4) fantasy sports games in accordance with the present invention referred to as “enhanced fantasy sports games” which include additional elements not in other sports games, examples of which are discussed below.

Prognosticators (“handicappers”) predict the result of a competition or games with reference to casino odds and “sports handicappers” make predictions with reference to off-shore and domestic US sports odds.

A “player” or “gamer” is a person who plays any of the fantasy games and a “sports figure” is an actual sports personality who plays in real-world games.

The present invention has been implemented using two closely linked entities: Score Line Channel and an all-sports social networking community called SLC SportsXchange™.

Score Line Channel has its own specific social community, called a “gamer's community”, which is focused only on linking its gamers (members) in competition and social interactions like chat.

SLC sportsxchange™ is an “all-sports social networking community” and is a place and/or group where people become members and where, among other things, they chat with each other about sports and sporting events, create user-generated content, enter and respond to contests, bring their friends, build new relationships, play games alone and with others, and establish a community based on common sports-related interests.

“Digital television” systems are those telecommunication systems which send out and receive moving pictures and sound by means of digital signals.

“Telecom provider and/or company” systems include all telecommunication systems including but not limited to all wired and wireless systems, such as, for example, all mobile telecom provider and/or company systems, all IPTV systems and all phone company systems. It also includes all wired and wireless systems and companies not specifically tied to a telecom provider and/or company such as, for example, a system tied into a wifi and/or wimax system and/or a Bluetooth system.

“Casual games” include games like, for example, puzzle games, arcade games, card games, word games, sports related video games and board games. Fantasy poker is also included in the casual game grouping.

“Fantasy poker” includes all the fantasy gambling games, that are not sports related, and are featured on the all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange).

“Internet TV” includes all moving image and/or sound content over the Internet. Internet TV includes but is not limited to web TV.

“IPTV” is a system whereby a digital television service is delivered using an Internet Protocol over a network infrastructure, which may or may not include a broadband connection. It may be delivered to residences and/or businesses. It includes, but is not limited to, all television content and/or moving images and sound that, instead of being delivered via previously traditional formats, is being received, for example, by the viewer through technologies used by computer and/or phone company, and/or cable and/or satellite networks.

Sports and activities surrounding them, including standard fantasy sports games and fantasy betting sports games, have become one of the most important entertainment choices for American men. Sports are well known to be one of the most targeted and lucrative options for motivating rapid audience growth for cable, satellite, telecom provider and/or company (e.g., IPTV, mobile), Internet, handheld device (e.g., iPod, Playstation, MP3 players) and broadcast delivery and advertisers worldwide. However, heretofore, all sports programming on television, within certain parameters, is very similar, and the only true differentiating factors are the types of sports, the teams and the players.

A number of enterprises have been proposed or developed relating to interactive television or Internet programming. For example, AOL, CBS Sportsline, and ESPN provide standard fantasy sports gaming as part of their Internet service on websites. Internet websites, newspapers, magazines and cell phone companies carry sports information. However, none of them have the ease or immediacy of a television and/or mobile telecom provider and/or company channel as does the present invention. A channel in linear digital form can carry off-shore and domestic US odds, a gamer's community, an all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange) information, fantasy statistics and related programming and when such channel is interactive, deliver standard and enhanced fantasy sports games, standard and enhanced fantasy betting sports games, a gamer's community, and an interactive all-sports social networking community for sports fans, virtual sports bettors and sports garners (SLC SportsXchange). It may be played silently in the background throughout the day or clicked to at a moment's notice.

There are a few websites that offer fantasy betting sports contests such as Wagerline.com and Fanball.com. The Fanball.com site is a fantasy sports site that has a few simulated wagering contests as an adjunct to its standard fantasy sports games. The Wagerline.com site provides standard fantasy league betting contests. None of the websites is tied to an interactive television channel, or any television channel for that manner.

A number of US patents relate to standard fantasy sports games, but do not cover any fantasy betting sports games. These patents include U.S. Pat. No. 4,918,603, U.S. Pat. No. 5,018,736, U.S. Pat. No. 5,263,723, U.S. Pat. No. 5,846,132, U.S. Pat. No. 5,860,862, U.S. Pat. No. 5,971,854, U.S. Pat. No. 6,135,881, U.S. Pat. No. 6,193,610, U.S. Pat. No. 6,371,855, U.S. Pat. No. 6,669,565, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,688,978.

U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/057,310, filed Feb. 11, 2005, discloses a television channel that provides for interactive fantasy betting on sports games and interactive playing of fantasy sports games, and that displays real-time, live off-shore and domestic US betting odds on an interactive television device. U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/057,310 discloses a television channel whose programming is integrally associated with a computer device for use by individuals to fantasy bet on sports games using off-shore and domestic US odds and play standard or enhanced fantasy sports games on the computer device using information from the television device. U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/057,310 also discloses a television channel that provides a combination of live off-shore and domestic US odds, fantasy betting and fantasy sports games that are displayed on television and simulate television resulting from the use of computer devices, and specifically with interactive TV, IPTV or non-interactive TV.

It would be desirable to improve upon the inventions disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/057,310 to provide for television, IPTV and mobile channels employing sports handicappers who broadcast short segment video content and who also provide personal, interactive advice via premium priced appointments. It would also be desirable to provide for television, IPTV and mobile channels that implement a social networking community exclusively dedicated to all sports enthusiasts, virtual sports gamblers and fantasy gamers.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The various features and advantages of embodiments of the present invention may be more readily understood with reference to the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals designate like structural elements, and in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates exemplary embodiments of systems in accordance with the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates details of the systems shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary enhanced fantasy wagering process flow diagram;

FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary fantasy use case model;

FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary screen display of a computer device presented to a player that is initially viewing the channel and is not logged in;

FIG. 6 illustrates an exemplary screen display of a computer device presented to a player showing an exemplary web home page of the channel;

FIG. 7 illustrates an exemplary screen display of a computer device presented to a player that is logged in;

FIG. 8 illustrates an exemplary screen display of a computer device presented to a player showing an exemplary handicapper channel;

FIG. 9 illustrates an exemplary screen display of a computer device presented to a player showing an exemplary SLC SportsXchange player profile page; and

FIG. 10 is a flow diagram illustrating exemplary embodiments of gaming methods.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

By way of summary, disclosed are fantasy sports gaming television systems and methods, implemented using IPTV, Internet, Internet TV and/or mobile telecom providers and/or companies, that uniquely and comprehensively address the growing sports gaming market in a manner not envisioned heretofore. The fantasy sports gaming television (IPTV, Internet, Internet TV and mobile) systems and methods provide the only combination of simulated sports gaming available together with a gamer's community and an all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange™), including an Internet website, a gamer's community and an all-sports mobile community, a gamer's community and an all-sports interactive TV community, and a gamer's community and an all-sports IPTV community.

Embodiments of the television, IPTV, Internet, Internet TV and mobile systems and methods that comprise display systems located at consumer or player sites, a server system for generating a television channel (The Score Line Channel™, or “SLC™”) comprising standard and enhanced fantasy sports games and standard and enhanced fantasy betting sports games with real-time live odds derived from multiple off-shore and domestic US sports books used for information purposes, playing in fantasy games, and a communication link coupled between the server system and the display systems for transmitting the television channel, IPFV, Internet, Internet TV, standard mobile and mobile TV including the real-time live odds, standard and enhanced fantasy betting sports games and standard enhanced fantasy sports games, casual games listed below, a gamer's community or site and an all-sports social networking community or site (SLC SportsXchange) to the display systems.

Odds, statistics, fantasy league standings, predictions are available to users and are provided by third party content aggregators. Advertisements and shopping links are also provided to users by third party content aggregators. Casual games, rotisserie games and fantasy gambling games are available to users through the SportsXchange social networking community.

A user-oriented web-based audio-video content site is provided that allows users to generate and store audio and video content, that may be retrieved by other users. This audio-video content site is accessible by way of a media server and the social networking community or site,

Exemplary communication links include cable and satellite providers, wired and mobile telecom provider (Telco) and/or companies, handheld device companies and distributors (e.g., Apple, Sony) and/or the Internet. Exemplary display systems include digital television systems and web-enabled computer devices, such as personal computers and cellular devices, for example. Exemplary programming formats include a linear video channel, an interactive television (iTV) channel, an Internet protocol television (IPTV) channel, a mobile telecom provider and/or company channel, a downloadable content channel and a website channel. The exemplary television systems and methods permit interactive fantasy betting competitions between many players using real-time off-shore and Domestic US odds making the gaming experience more realistic but without providing any negative financial consequences to the players.

The fantasy sports gaming television systems and methods provide for a US-based social networking community exclusively dedicated to all sports enthusiasts, virtual sports gamblers and fantasy gamers. The fantasy sports gaming systems and casual gaming systems provide for a sports gamer's community and an all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange) television, IPTV, Internet, Internet TV and mobile sites that embody all-sports related contests, all-sports user-generated audio and video content, including shows, all-sports related appointment programming, where winners of virtual sports betting games, rotisserie sports fantasy games, winners of various sports related contests, including those that include user-generated audio and video sports programs and shows, and celebrities moderate scheduled controversial topics. The purpose of this is to provide a place where game winners can be featured and rewarded and to fill forums and chat rooms that might otherwise be either empty or sparsely populated. The fantasy sports gaming systems provide for fantasy gambling games that replicate real world gaming in a league format and that allow a player to use multiple off-shore and domestic US odds. More particularly, the fantasy sports gaming systems provide for a digital presentation of a customizable, moving information stream of offshore and domestic US odds. The fantasy sports gambling games do not create any financial risk for gamers but they do allow gamers to accumulate points or credits, that are given to them for free, by winning. In some cases the fantasy gambling games will allow gamers to take these free points and/or credits accumulated through winning, and use or redeem them in other games or contests offered by the company.

The fantasy sports gaming systems allow winners of rotisserie games to accumulate points and choose prizes from any number of sponsors/stores in a large shopping mall and/or to get cash prizes all of which have been established and announced well in advance of the games being played and are not related to the number of players or to any accumulated amount of entry fees provided by those players. The fantasy sports gaming systems implement a rewards program for watching ads on a fantasy gaming, the gamer's community and the all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange), on whatever display system they may reside.

The fantasy sports gaming systems provide for the first known long-term, multi-platform short segment video competition for choosing female hostesses/market representatives in the sports information/fantasy gambling/gaming arena.

The fantasy sports gaming systems provide for the first long-term, multi-platform, short segment, video competition among professional handicappers and amateur handicappers, where they compete as to whose predictions are more accurate.

The fantasy sports gaming systems provide for an Internet TV site (and a linear digital television section and/or show, an interactive television and IPFV place and/or show, and both a linear and interactive mobile component and/or show and/or “snack size” segment) having a large group of sports handicappers who broadcast short segment moving picture and sound content, provide pre-recorded advice and who also provide personal advice via premium priced appointments. The fantasy sports gaming systems provide for a subscription service where a member can choose from a stable of handicappers at a reduced rate and reduced risk. The fantasy sports gaming systems provide for a public video-driven contest between professional and amateur handicappers.

Referring to the drawing figures, FIG. 1 illustrates exemplary embodiments of systems 10 in accordance with the principles of the present invention. All systems 10 implement a standard and enhanced fantasy betting sports games and standard and enhanced fantasy sports gaming television channel 10 (The Score Line Channel™, “SLC”) for distribution to consumers or end users, and in particular fantasy sports players and fantasy sports bettors. All systems 10 deliver real-time live odds (off-shore and domestic US odds) derived from multiple off-shore and domestic US sports books 25, casinos 25, or odds-makers 25, which has not heretofore been provided by any sports channel or fantasy sports channel.

In general, the system 10 comprises a display system 19 located at a consumer or game player site. The display system 19 may be a television system, 19 an interactive television system 19, an Internet protocol television (IPTV) system 19, a web-enabled computer device 19, such as a personal computer, a wireless device 19, a telecom provider and/or company (mobile and/or wired) device, a handheld device (e.g., iPod, Playstation, MP3 player) or any other display system 19 capable of receiving and displaying a television or Internet feed and the off-shore and domestic US odds.

A server system 11 (also referred to as a television studio 11) is used to create and aggregate data and programming for transmission to the display system 19. Such data and programming includes one or more standard and enhanced fantasy sports games and one or more standard and enhanced betting contests, sports handicapper predictions and one or more real-time live offshore and domestic US odds derived from the off-shore and domestic US sports books 25. The odds from the one or more off-shore and domestic US sports books 25 and the one or more sports handicapper predictions are used for general information purposes, such as for setting up strategy, selecting sports teams, and for all fantasy betting sports games.

Standard and enhanced fantasy sports games are games wherein users create fantasy leagues by selecting players from all teams in a selected sport and combine them via drafts, and player trades, for example, to make up the users' fantasy team. Each team plays against other users' teams within a fantasy league or club. Points are awarded based on real performances of individual players for a combined total score. Scores are tracked for every game and teams are ranked against each other within a league.

Enhanced games have additional elements above and beyond those of standard games. For example, such elements might include, but are not limited to, allowing fantasy bets inside the fantasy sports games, on the events (as defined below and certain additional elements) and the results of the games. For example, another enhanced element ties fantasy sports games to separate fantasy betting sports games, which only the player of the original fantasy sports game can play and wherein he/she makes simulated bets on the outcome of his/her fantasy sports games and the events (as defined below and certain additional elements) related to the sports figures on his/her team or teams. Enhanced games have never been available to players on television.

Standard and enhanced fantasy betting sports games are interactive simulated betting contests. Enhanced fantasy betting contests are those in which players use the real-time off-shore and domestic US betting odds on real games along with other information, including sports handicapper predictions, displayed by the system 10 to make fantasy bets on the end results of the real games and on “events” using fantasy cash, credits and/or points. Examples of events include, but are not limited to, rushing, passing, field goals, quarterback sacks, number of 3 point baskets, number of home runs, number of saves on goals, rookie of the year. Players either join public leagues, set up private leagues to play against each other or play one-on-one against each other. Players are given virtual cash (fantasy cash), points and/or credits, on a weekly basis, for example, which they use to make fantasy bets, based on the off-shore and domestic US odds from whatever off-shore and domestic US book they choose, and the other information they are given. If a player wins, points are awarded. If the player loses he or she gets nothing. None of these fantasy betting sports games has ever been available to a player on television, IPTV, Internet TV, or handheld or mobile devices.

The system 10 may also transmit fantasy betting sports games that use off-shore and domestic US odds. These fantasy betting sports games allow bets on such things as the events in the previous paragraph, but are not limited to only these events, and may include who will be rookie of the year, who will be traded, which coaches will quit or be fired, game stats on individual players in each game they play, and the like. Thus, these fantasy sports games are games where bets are made on selected events relating to members (players) of fantasy teams, but are unrelated to which real world teams actually win the games. They are available to all players. This type of fantasy betting sports game has not heretofore been available to fantasy sports players and fantasy sports bettors on television.

The system 10 may also transmit fantasy betting sports games that are based on enhanced fantasy sports games. These fantasy betting sports games allow bets on such things as the events in the previous paragraph, but are not limited to only these events, and may include who will be rookie of the year, who will be traded, which coaches will quit or be fired, game stats on individual players in each game they play, the result of a fantasy sports player's own game and the like. Thus, these fantasy sports games are games where fantasy bets are made on selected events relating to members of fantasy teams, but are unrelated to whether the real world teams actually win the real world games. They are available only to the fantasy players who are playing certain fantasy sports games. These fantasy betting sports games may either be embedded inside the fantasy sports game to which they apply or be separate fantasy betting sports games tied to those fantasy sports games. This type of fantasy betting sports game has not heretofore been available to fantasy sports players on television.

Interactive commercial transactions (commerce) include situations in which a user, sitting at home for example, or using a mobile device anywhere, for example, can purchase merchandise from an interactive screen by the click of a button or other device.

The server system 11, or studio 11, comprises a central database 12 that receives the real-time live odds from the off-shore and domestic US sports books 25 and additional sports-related and fantasy sports-related information from sports and fantasy sports information databases 13. The server system 11 comprises a game server 14 that is coupled to the central database 12. The server system 11 also comprises a broadband media server 15 that is coupled to the game server 14.

The broadband media server 15 is a computer system that is capable of transmitting (1) interactive digital video programming, along with the fantasy sports games, the real-time live offshore and domestic US odds, sports handicapper predictions, sports gamer's community, the all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange) and ads or interactive commercial products that are part of interactive commercial transactions, or (2) the interactive digital video programming, alone, from the server system 11 or studio 11 for distribution to the end user display system 19. The game server 14 is a computer system that is capable of transmitting (1) the fantasy sports games, the sports gamer's community, all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange) and real-time live odds to the broadband media server 15, or (2) the fantasy sports games, the sports gamer's community, all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange) and real-time live odds by way of the Internet 18, for distribution to the end user display system 19.

The server system 11 is coupled to the end user display system 19 by way of one or more communication links 20. The communication links 20 take a variety of forms, depending upon the type of programming that is distributed and the type of end user display system 19. Exemplary communication links 20 are provided by telecom provider and/or company, cable and satellite system providers 17 or operators 17. Other communication links 20 are provided by way of the Internet 18.

The broadcast signal for the channel 10 may be transmitted from any satellite uplink facility or through any wired or wireless means coupled to the broadband media server 15. A satellite uplink facility such as the British Telecom transmission facility in the Los Angeles, Calif. area, for example, may be used as the uplink facility. The signal is uplinked to a satellite transponder, which beams it to headend equipment of cable and satellite systems 17 throughout the United States.

For example, digital linear video programming (television broadcast or channel, IPTV broadcast or channel, mobile broadcast or channel) 16 a may be distributed by the telecom provider and/or company, cable and satellite system operators 17. Digital interactive video programming (interactive television (iTV) channel 16 b, Internet TV and mobile TV) 16 b may also be distributed by the telecom provider and/or company, or cable and satellite system operators 17. An Internet protocol television (IPTV) channel 16 c may be distributed by way of the Internet 18. Interactive video programming may be distributed by way of a website 16 d (TheScorelineChannel.com) over the Internet 18. The broadcast signal for the channel 10 along with the games and odds, etc., may also be transmitted using the facilities and infrastructure (antenna towers, repeaters, fiber optic links, etc) of telecom providers such as Sprint/Nextel, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Cingular, for example, identified herein as a telecom/mobile channel 16 e.

In the case of the linear video programming only the live off-shore and domestic US odds and video programming are transmitted to the television, IPFV, Internet TV, mobile TV and mobile system 19. The interactive components, include, but are not limited to, standard and enhanced fantasy betting sports games, standard and enhanced fantasy sports games, sports handicapper predictions, the sports gamer's community, an all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange), interactive commerce (e-commerce) and enriched video content transmitted via the Internet 18. In the interactive television programming, the standard and enhanced fantasy sports games and standard and enhanced fantasy betting sports games, sports handicapper predictions, sports gamer's community content, all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange) content, interactive commerce and real-time live odds are transmitted from the game server 14 by way of the broadband media server 15 to the telecom provider and/or company, cable and satellite system operators 17 to the end user display system 19.

In the case of the Internet protocol television programming, interactive video programming is distributed by way of the broadband media server 15 and the Internet 18 to the end user display system 19 and the standard and enhanced fantasy sports games and standard and enhanced fantasy betting sports games, sports handicapper predictions, sports gamer's community, all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange) content, interactive commerce and real-time live odds are transmitted from the game server 14 by way of the broadband media server 15 and the Internet 18 to the end user display system 19.

In the case of the website 16 d, interactive video programming is distributed by way of the broadband media server 15 and the Internet 18 to the end user display system 19 and the standard and enhanced fantasy sports games and standard and enhanced fantasy betting sports game, sports handicapper predictions, sports gamer's community, all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange) content, and e-commerce are distributed by way of the game server 14 and the Internet 18 to the end user display system 19. The communication link 20 between the server system 11 and the display system 19 located at the consumer or game player site may be any combination land line or wireless links.

As is shown in FIG. 1, various communication links 20 are coupled between the server system and the display system 19 for transmitting the programming, including the real-time live odds and standard and enhanced fantasy sports games and standard and enhanced fantasy betting sports games, sports gamer's community, all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange) content, and sports handicapper predictions, to the display system 19. Exemplary communication links 20 include telecom provider and/or company, cable and satellite systems 17 that are currently in widespread use for delivery of the programming to regular and interactive television systems, IPTV systems, Internet TV, mobile systems and mobile TV. For example, the programming provided by the present invention may be distributed as a digital linear channel or interactive channel on major cable and satellite providers 17 including Dish Network, DirecTV, Time Warner Cable, Comcast Cable, Cox Cable, Cablevision, Charter Cable, Mediacom, Insight or any additional small cable systems. In the case where the display system 19 is an Internet protocol television system 19 or a web-enabled computer device 19, such as a personal computer, the communication link 20 is provided over the Internet 18 using Internet service providers, which include most of the above-identified cable and satellite providers 17. In addition, a number of major telecom provider and/or company companies, such as SBC, Verizon, BellSouth and Qwest, to name a few, have DSL lines into homes for Internet connectivity that permits television channel distribution. Furthermore, mobile telecom provider and/or companies such as Sprint/Nextel, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Cingular, for example, also have cellular/mobile facilities that may be used to provide television channel distribution via the telecom/mobile channel 16 e.

The Internet protocol television (IFTV) channel 16 b may, for example, be implemented using a platform available from Microsoft Corporation known as Microsoft® TV or it may be implemented using some other system and/or systems. Details of this platform are available on the Microsoft® website. Available descriptive literature include a Microsoft TV fact sheet, Microsoft TV Foundation Edition, and Microsoft TV IFTV Edition Datasheet, for example. Information regarding the Microsoft TV platform may be obtained from reading these documents. In general, the Microsoft TV platform includes systems and services that provide for digital video recording (DVR), on-demand programming, high-definition television (HDTV), and program guide listings using a single customizable menu. The television channel 10 may be delivered to end users using the Microsoft TV platform. Microsoft was used only as an example and the channel may be delivered using some other Internet platform and/or system and/or it may be delivered using both Microsoft and some other platform or system.

FIG. 2 illustrates additional details regarding the systems 10 shown in FIG. 1. As is shown in FIG. 2, the television broadcasting studio 11 includes a number of databases, including the central database 12, databases that are compiled by a third party content aggregators 21 including the sports information database 13 and sports book database 22, an advertising database 23, a user-generated database 24 from the all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange) and the gamer community, and a sports handicapper database. The sports book database 22 stores the real-time off-shore and domestic US odds received from various off-shore and domestic US odds makers. The sports information database 13 stores information relating to standard and enhanced fantasy sports games that are broadcast, including end-of-game results, injuries, against-the-spread information, player statistics and league standings, for example. The sports gamer's community database 24 stores all of the information about the interactions and victories of the (1) “standard fantasy betting sports games” 2) “enhanced fantasy betting sports games” and the (3) “standard fantasy sports games” (“rotisserie league games”).

The all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange) information database 24 stores all the third party information about the extremely extensive sports lists on the all-sports community. So it will store information about sports, for example, that are not listed on the fantasy gaming part of the Score Line Channel, such as information about bass fishing and soccer. The user-generated database 24 for the all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange) stores all of the user-generated content created by the members including audio, video, chat and written information. Such data may be stored in a web-based audio-video content site 28, for example. The web-based audio-video content site 28 and SportsXchange site 24 are coupled to the game server 14 and the media server 15.

The advertising database 23 stores advertising material that is to be broadcast. The sports handicapper database 22 stores sports handicapper information and predictions. The central database 12 combines and organizes the information from the databases 22 compiled by the third party content aggregators 21 and the user-generated content from the members 21 and stores the live odds, half-time odds, end-of-game results, injuries, against-the-spread information, player statistics and the league standing derived from the third party content aggregator databases.

The game server 14 outputs fantasy betting sports games and standard and enhanced fantasy sports games and sports handicapper information and predictions and casual games and fantasy poker for broadcast to end user display systems 19 along with the data stored in the central database 12 relating to the standard and enhanced fantasy betting sports game or standard and enhanced fantasy sports game and casual games and fantasy poker and contests that are broadcast. The game server 14 packages the sports handicapper information and predictions, standard and enhanced fantasy betting sports games, and standard and enhanced fantasy sports games, and casual games and fantasy poker and contests with desired advertising derived from the advertising database 23. The broadband media server transmits the current game, the video programming associated with the game, the various feeds, and the advertising to telecom provider and/or company, cable and or satellite operators 17 for distribution over telecom provider and/or company, satellite or cable systems to end user display systems 19 using a digital, non-interactive television broadcast 16 a, or by way of telecom provider and/or company, satellite or cable systems to the end user display systems 19 using the interactive television (iTV) channel 16 b. The broadband media server 15 and the game server 14 are also coupled to the Internet 18 (or World Wide Web) for distribution of interactive programming to end user display systems 19 by way of the Internet protocol television (IPTV) channel 16 c, the Internet TV channel 16 b, the mobile or handheld device channel 16 e (for download or broadcast), or the website (TheScorelineChannel.com) 16 d.

The social networking site (SLC SportsXchange) is implemented using a website and one or more databases 24. Casual games, rotisserie games and fantasy gambling games are stored in the one or more databases and are available to users through the SportsXchange social networking community or site.

A user-oriented web-based audio-video content site 28 is provided that allows users to generate and store audio and video content, that may be retrieved by other users. This audio-video content site 28 is accessible by way of a media server 15 and the social networking community or site,

The digital, non-interactive television broadcast 16 a or channel 16 a delivers live odds and linear video programming to the end user display systems 19. The interactive television (iTV) channel 16 b delivers live odds whose order is customizable by preference, half-time odds, scores, player statistics and standings, sports handicapper information and predictions, other sports information, fantasy sports games and fantasy betting sports games, the sports gamer's community information, the all-sports social network community (SLC SportsXchange) information, casual games and other interactive and user-generated content and video-on-demand programming to the end user display systems 19. The IPTV channel 16 c delivers live odds, half-time odds, scores, player statistics and standings, fantasy sports games and fantasy betting sports games, sports handicapper information and predictions, the sports gamer's community information, and the all-sports social network community (SLC SportsXchange) information, casual games and other interactive and user-generated content video-on-demand programming to the end user display systems 19. The website 16 d delivers live odds, half-time odds, scores, player statistics and standings, fantasy sports games and fantasy betting sports games, sports handicapper information and predictions, the sports gamer's community, and the all-sports social network community (SLC SportsXchange) information, casual games and other interactive and user-generated content video-on-demand programming to the end user display systems 19. The website 16 d has fantasy games and sports handicapper information and predictions, and the sports gamer's community, and all-sports social network community (SLC SportsXchange) content on it, even those that are associated with non-interactive linear digital channels, which may be delivered to the end user display systems 19. The IPTV channel 16 c is interactive, and may also deliver fantasy games and sports handicapper predictions to the end user display systems 19. The mobile channel 16 e may be either linear or interactive, depending on the sophistication of the handset. When it is linear the content may just be voice, words or still pictures. When it is interactive content may have a full video capability, a broadcast TV capability and the ability to play fully interactive games and create user-generated content. It may also have the capability to provide a location based (using GPS) all-sports social networking mobile capability

Half-time odds, end-of-game results, injury reports, against-the-spread reports, player statistics and league standings may be included in the programming broadcast via any of the broadcast media (channels 16 a-16 e). Also, advertising material, infomercials, live game scores, player trade information, club negotiation information, interviews, and other relevant information discussed in the previous paragraph may be aggregated for transmission by the server system 11.

The comprehensive all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange) for sports fans, virtual sports bettors and sports gamers may be implemented using the telecom/mobile channel 16 e or the website (TheScorelineChannel.com) 16 d, for example. The all-sports social networking community has a number of unique elements. It is the first all-sports community that provides a comprehensive listing of all sports to make navigation easier. It includes a sports dating tie-in. The all-sports social networking community offers casual games, rotisserie games and fantasy gambling games, for example, to members (users).

All user-generated content distributed via the all-sports social networking community relates only to sports. Winners of sports fantasy games (rotisserie and betting) played by members of the all-sports social networking community and sports related contests have the right to become leaders of sports related chat and sports related forums as part of prizes. Winners of certain fantasy sports gamers (rotisserie only) can accumulate points and prizes and use them at stores containing sports related products or to obtain cash prizes. SLC SportsXchange is also the first sports gaming and all-sports community where members are rewarded for watching advertisements.

Furthermore, the programming that is presented on an end user display screen 19 may include an “SLC Average” line, which is an indexed average of all off-shore and domestic betting lines used in the present invention. The SLC Average correlates directly to enhanced fantasy betting sports games that are played. A halftime odds line may be displayed for all sports when available from the off-shore and domestic US odds makers 25, which increases fantasy wagering capabilities and more detailed information to sports fans, fantasy game players and simulated betting league contestants as may other information afforded on the all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange). Depending upon the particular feed that is provided by the system 10, a player has the ability to choose his or her odds in order of priority, and the display screen 19 displays a selectable button that takes the player to a screen that displays standard and enhanced fantasy wagering features and standard and enhanced fantasy sports gaming features of all the fantasy sports games and fantasy betting contests.

Sports news features directly related to the playing of standard and enhanced fantasy betting sports games and standard and enhanced fantasy sports games, and the sports gamer's community, as well as information about niche sports on the all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange) may be displayed, including: live game scores, special odds, player trades and club negotiations or other information about niche sports. A streaming Chiron (called “Fantastat™”) may be, and is preferably, displayed at the bottom of the screen, where detailed fantasy sports statistics are displayed on a 24-hour basis, including player statistics, injury reports and team updates, for example.

Fantastat™ is a section or window of a display screen dedicated to individual player standings and rankings for purposes of standard and enhanced fantasy league games. Data is streamed into the window, on a 24-hour basis, such as by using a service available from Rotowire or Associated Press, for example. Both standard and enhanced fantasy leagues allow users to utilize players from all teams in a selected sport and combine them via drafts, player trades, and the like, to make up a user's fantasy team to compete against other players' teams within a fantasy league or club. Free points or credits are awarded based on the individual performances of players, and the combined point or credit total of the players on the user's team are tracked on a game-by-game basis and the user is rewarded or ranked within a league based on this combined point total. Enhanced games have additional elements above and beyond those of standard games. For example, such elements might include, but are not limited to, allowing fantasy bets inside the fantasy sports games, on the events (as defined above and certain additional elements) and the results of those games. For example, another enhanced element might be tying fantasy sports games to separate fantasy betting sports games, which only the player of the original fantasy sports game can play and wherein he/she bets on the outcome of his/her fantasy sports games and the events (as defined above and certain additional elements) related to the sports figures on his/her team or teams. The present invention is the first known fantasy sports television channel (including linear digital TV, interactive TV, Internet TV, IPTV, mobile TV and web TV) 11 that provides this player-related information to users during the entire 24-hour period.

Advertising information or relevant programming pertaining to major and niche sports may be displayed in one or more separate windows within the display screen 19. Also, advertisers and sponsors can place ads and sponsorship logos, audio and/or video content and/or interactive content on the display screen 19.

For example, an infomercial discussion relating to odds for a specific recent game or games from real or fantasy sports handicapper predictions, tips for standard and enhanced fantasy sports gamers who want to avoid standard errors and increase their skill at playing, and betting discussions for standard and enhanced fantasy league bettors may be displayed. Information relating to sports handicappers, including the accuracy of their predictions and the cost of their services, or league experts, may be displayed. Relevant discussions, live interviews with sports figures, celebrity picks, fantasy sports trivia for the avid sports fan, and sports comedy may also be displayed. In addition, information about niche sports and all user-generated content from the all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange) may also be shown.

Information about sports handicappers may be displayed on a display screen 19 in the form of an ad, infomercial, link, telecom provider and/or company number or other means of communication. If a player chooses to use the information from the sports handicapper he/she goes through several steps using a communication link: establish payment, either then or through a previous subscription or account, and request a prediction. The prediction is transmitted via the communication link 20 to the player. Communication links 20 may include, but are not limited to: an interactive television system 19, an IPTV system 19, a website 16 a, an email address, a wireless system 19, a wired system 19 a telecom provider and/or company, a mobile telecom provider and/or company and a handheld device (cell phone, iPod, etc.).

The system 10, using a digital interactive television system, a telecom provider and/or company and/or mobile system 19 or a non-interactive television system 19 coupled with an interactive website (including Internet TV, web TV, IPFV, mobile TV) 16 a is specifically designed to allow participation in fantasy betting contests and fantasy sports games and the acquisition of sports handicapper predictions and playing casual games and fantasy poker. Exemplary fantasy games, (standard and enhanced fantasy sports games and standard and enhanced fantasy betting contests) developed for the system 10 include, but are not limited to:

(1) Sportsbook 2006 which is free and offers no prizes. This is a fantasy league betting contest. Players either join public leagues or set up private leagues to play against each other. Players are given virtual cash, points or credits on a weekly basis, which they use to make bets, based on the off-shore and domestic US odds from whatever off-shore and domestic US book they choose. If a player wins, points or credits are awarded. If the player loses he or she gets nothing.

(2) Standard fantasy league sports games have a subscription fee, and offer prizes that have been previously established and made known to the player in advance of the game or contest and their value is not determined by the number of participants or the amount of money or “pot” put in by those participants. Fantasy leagues are both public and private and allow users to utilize players from all teams in a selected sport and combine them via drafts, player trades, and the like, to make up a user's fantasy team to compete against other players' teams within a fantasy league or club. Points are awarded based on the individual performances of players as a result of their skill at playing the game. The combined point total of the players on the user's team are tracked on a game-by-game basis and the user is rewarded or ranked within a league based on this combined point total. Rewards to the winning players may be based on awards from the stores in the shopping mall, the sponsors, the advertisers and/or cash.

(3) Enhanced fantasy sports games include all this and have certain additional elements. For example, such elements might include, but are not limited to, allowing fantasy bets inside the fantasy sports games, on the events (as defined above and certain additional elements) and the results of those games. For example, another enhanced element may tie fantasy sports games to separate fantasy betting sports games, which only the player of the original fantasy sports game can play and wherein he/she bets on the outcome of his/her fantasy sports games and the events (as defined above and certain additional elements) related to the sports figures on his/her team or teams.

Thus, the system 10 provides for a television channel (Internet system, Internet TV, IPTV, mobile system, mobile TV) 10 that permits interactive betting on simulated standard and enhanced fantasy betting sports games and standard and enhanced fantasy sports games that display off-shore and domestic US betting odds on a display screen of a television, telecom provider and/or company or computer device 19. The system 10 provides for a television channel (Internet system, Internet TV, IPTV, mobile system, mobile TV) 10 that implements a combination of off-shore and domestic US odds, standard and enhanced fantasy betting sports games, standard and enhanced fantasy sports games, sports handicapper predictions, a sports gamer's community, and an all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange), and casual games and user-generated content and interactive commerce displayed on television, telecom provider and/or company and computer devices 19 using interactive TV, IPTV and non-interactive TV in combination with the website, Internet TV, standard unenhanced mobile telecom provider and/or companies, Mobile TV and handheld devices.

The system 10 provides immediate access to live off-shore and domestic US odds and other sports and fantasy sports related statistics for the most popular sports like professional and college football and basketball, hockey, major league baseball, golf, NASCAR, arena football, boxing, soccer, rugby, cricket, tennis, auto racing, grand prix, and as many niche sports as are on SLC's all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange) 24 hours a day, whenever sports fans and fantasy players want them. No television channel in the market does or has ever done this.

In addition, the system 10 provides access on SLC's all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange) to fantasy casino and casual games, for example, including but not limited to poker, Texas hold-em, solitaire, blackjack, bridge, canasta, cribbage, deuces wild, double down, euchre, gin, hearts, spades, backgammon, chess, checkers, mahjong and bingo. No television programming service or channel in the market does or has ever done this.

The operational setup required for the system 10 is relatively simple compared to conventional channels. The current original production involves presenting hostesses, referred to as Fantasy Foxes, creating contests for professional versus amateur handicappers and creating infomercials for real and fantasy game sports handicappers and league experts. Other programming, like a handicapper review show, a behind-the-scenes sports show, and a sports dating show may also be produced. Most other programming may be pre-recorded, licensed or user-generated from members of the SLC all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange). The remainder of the content for the channel 10, including games, are created using computers, and are transmitted via telecom provider and/or company, cable and satellite systems to end users, or are available to end users via the website, Internet TV, IPTV, mobile telecom provider and/or companies, mobile TV and handheld devices.

Other than original programming relating to the hostesses, the sports handicappers and others referred to in the preceding paragraph, and information related to games and niche sports, only limited content is provided including: advertising, live off-shore and Domestic US odds, sports scores, player statistics, user-generated and pre-recorded programming. Because much of the material distributed over the channel 10 is created using computers, this is a highly cost-efficient approach. In addition, advertising content also is provided by way of computer feeds.

Data from the live odds feeds is fed directly to end user display systems 19 to ensure the instantaneous updating of scores and odds. All changes are also compared by human “checkers” of the live feeds to ensure accuracy of information, and to correct any errors or inconsistencies in real time.

FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary fantasy wagering process 30 flow diagram. In the exemplary fantasy wagering process 30, an event is scheduled 31 and existing players log in 32 in order to participate in the event. Once a player logs in, a league is created 33. If a new visitor wants to participate in the event, he or she registers to create a new player account and the new player (visitor 34) joins 36 the league. For the scheduled event 31, fantasy dollar, credit, point allowances are awarded for each of the league members.

At the time the scheduled event is played, a player logs in 32 a, selects 41 the appropriate fantasy wagering league, selects a live odds sports feed from those that are available, views 43 the live odds, opening lines and SLC Average line. The player then selects 44 a contest and sports book (casino) or SLC Average that has the odds that he or she desires. The player selects a bet type 45 and a selects a bet amount 46. The selected amount of the fantasy sports bet is submitted 47.

The scheduled event 31 (fantasy betting sports game) is played and the player receives 51 the game results. The fantasy bet results are determined indicating the amount of fantasy dollars, points, credits that the player has won or lost. The fantasy award amounts are then awarded 53 (i.e., added or subtracted from the players fantasy dollar, point, credit allowance). After the scheduled event (fantasy betting sports game) is finished, league standings are determined 54. At the end of a pre-set period of time periodic (e.g., weekly, monthly, seasonal) winners are disclosed. Their names are put on Leader Boards and Halls of Fame. They are also given the right to lead selected forums and chat rooms on various pre-approved subjects.

FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary fantasy use case model. A visitor 34 logs in 32 and registers 35 an existing player 32 logs in and updates his or her profile 61. The player 32 joins 36 a league. The league is started 62 and the player 32 places his or her fantasy sports bet. The league is started by the job scheduler 31.

A league manager 67 is responsible for setting up 33 the league and inviting 33 players 32 to participate in the scheduled fantasy sports game. A league administrator 68 is responsible for removing 63 or banning 63 any player 32 who disregards league rules. The league administrator 68 configures 64 game settings. The job scheduler 31 processes 53 bet outcomes, deposits 65 fantasy dollar allowances, processes 54 end-of-period results, and retires 66 inactive leagues.

The system 10 implements a format of league play relating to fantasy betting sports games that is familiar to fantasy sports players 32. In most wagering contest sites, gamers simply play one-offs against the entire population of the site. The system 10 permits interactive competition among many players 32.

Play in all leagues is made available on the end user display systems 19 in systems 10 where interactivity is possible, and through the website 16 d both where interactivity is possible and where interactivity is not possible. This allows players tremendous flexibility, so, that when they are at work, for example, without an interactive television or telecom provider and/or company, device or mobile screen, and something important occurs relating to their games, they will have the ability to manipulate their games or modify their strategy as necessary, and those changes will be reflected on their display system 19 when they go home.

The website, Internet TV, IPTV, mobile telecom provider and/or company, telecom provider and/or company, mobile TV and handheld device are provided in addition to the television channels 16 a-16 c. The website, Internet TV, IPTV, mobile telecom provider and/or company, telecom provider and/or company, mobile TV and handheld device presents content that is substantially similar to the content on the television channels 16 a-16 c in that it displays league driven fantasy betting contests and other fantasy sports games as well as sports handicapper predictions, casual games, a sports gamer's community, and the all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange), including both user-generated content and the ability to create new user-generated content. A window is provided into which the television content is streamed.

Players are able to play all the fantasy, casual and poker games on the website, Internet TV, IPTV, mobile telecom provider and/or company, telecom provider and/or company, mobile TV and handheld device. Game templates may be obtained via downloadable web-based software, available to the public from a link on the website or may be played directly on the website, Internet TV, IPTV, mobile telecom provider and/or company, telecom provider and/or company, mobile TV and handheld devices. The software or direct web playing allows player involvement in public and private fantasy leagues for betting contests, fantasy sports games, casual games and fantasy poker.

As with the television screens, there is a screen section allocated to real and fantasy sports, sports handicappers, casual and fantasy poker games, league experts, a sports gamer's community, and the all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange) and its user-generated content. This screen section includes information about the sports handicappers and league experts and may contain articles written by them and transcripts of their shows. If the display system is interactive it will also show the predictions of the sports handicappers once the player/user has logged in and either paid for the prediction or the system has automatically determined that he has a current subscription which is available for use. If the television display 19 is not interactive the player may get his/her predictions in one of many ways including, but not limited to: the SLC website 16 a, his/her email address, previously designated telecom provider and/or company lines, or other interactive wireless or wired devices.

The website, Internet TV, IPTV, mobile telecom provider and/or company, telecom provider and/or company, mobile TV and handheld devices may provide members with any and/or all content from the sports gamer's community and the all-sports social networking community (SLC SportsXchange), including, for example, casual games, user-generated content, member interactions (for example forums, chat), the ability to create new user-generated content and enriched information.

The website 16 d may provide links to sites containing products such as sports tickets, sports equipment, sports vacations, sports memorabilia auctions and other products important to sports fans. In addition the site links to chat rooms where league players can converse with each other.

Fantasy betting contests enable players to place fantasy bets on any single sport or any combination of sports. They allow players to enjoy the excitement of picking against real odds makers and competing with their friends and co-workers, without any of the financial risks inherent in real gambling. Teams and players who make the most winning bets in a week, a month, a year, and throughout the entire course of their participation in a league, will be honored and publicly announced. Their names will be placed on leader boards and in the Halls of Fame. They will even be granted the right to be featured as leaders in chat rooms and forums, where controversial topics are discussed. Players use the statistics, information and off-shore and domestic US odds displayed on the end user display screens 19 and via the website 16 c.

The system 10 takes the concept of league play that is familiar to fantasy sports players and combines it with the excitement of simulated betting contests and real-time off-shore and domestic US odds. In conventional wagering contest sites, garners play one-offs against the entire population of the site. The system 10 permits group play, which allows players to have a unique and comprehensive real-world experience, without the potential for real-world financial harm.

FIGS. 5-10 illustrates exemplary screen displays that are presented on the end user display systems 19, such as the television screens or web-enabled computer devices 19.

FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary screen display of a computer device presented to a player that is initially viewing the channel and is not logged in. In FIG. 5, there is advertising and live scores displayed at the upper middle portion of the display screen 19 and on the lower left portion of the display screen 19. The advertising includes links to the advertisers websites and allows shopping via t-commerce directly marketed to a highly targeted demographic audience. Selection buttons (“PLACE BETS NOW”, “JOIN A LEAGUE” and “START A NEW LEAGUE”) are displayed in the middle of the display screen 19, allowing visitors to take appropriate steps to participate in fantasy sports games. The right portion of the display screen shows an on-air hostess along with selection buttons below the image that allows visitors to review archived content.

FIG. 6 illustrates an exemplary screen display of a computer device presented to a player showing an exemplary home page of the channel. This exemplary screen display is presented to a player that is not logged in. The live odds screen includes odds posted by date and time, the teams that are competing, opening odds for the games, odds from each of the off-shore and domestic US odds makers 25 or sports books 25, and the SLC Average.

FIG. 7 illustrates an exemplary screen display of a computer device presented to a player that is logged in. In FIG. 7, the display screen shown in FIG. 6 is overlaid with a live odds display once the player logs in. Also, in FIG. 7, the display screen shown in FIG. 6 is overlaid with a match-up screen showing a game that was selected by a player on which to bet. The teams are displayed along with the spread. The amount of the player's fantasy dollar account, points and/or credits are displayed. A “place bet” screen is displayed containing a scroll-down menu that allows the player to select a fantasy bet amount and compute a return based upon the odds. Selection buttons are provided to select the fantasy bet amount that was entered or cancel the bet.

FIG. 8 illustrates an exemplary screen display of a computer device 19 presented to a player showing an exemplary handicapper channel. Professional handicappers, who predict game results and provide live odds, play a prominent role in support of gaming simulations. An exemplary video showing a professional handicapper is shown in the upper-middle-left portion of the screen display. Controls for playing the video are presented below the presentation screen containing the video. A contact number for the professional handicapper is also displayed that allows players to contact him/her.

A list of available professional handicappers is presented in the upper-middle-right portion of the screen display 19. The list includes a photograph along with contact information and selectable icons for watching or buying the video and statistics for each professional handicapper.

More particularly, the fantasy sports gaming system 10 provides, for example, for an Internet TV (and e.g., IPTV, Internet TV, mobile system, mobile TV, telecom provider and/or company) site employing a large group of sports handicappers who broadcast short segment video content (i.e., short video clips or videos) and who also provide personal, interactive advice via premium priced appointments. A pool of, for example, 20 handicappers may be made available to players. The players may choose among the available handicappers and use advice from as many or as few of them as they want, at any given time, or for any one or more games. To buttress fantasy wagering, the players may pay a subscription package price for a certain number of predictions, or may pay for individual predictions. Payment may be made using a call-in number or by a click of a button (icon) on the Internet display screen or mobile telecom provider and/or company screen.

Free handicapper videos are provided that discuss teams, players, conditions and the accuracy of their past predictions. Weekly discussions and predictions may be provided via videos to support personalization and immediacy and to better connect with players as they compete in their fantasy leagues.

The fantasy sports gaming system 10 implements a professional handicapper subscription service where a player can choose from a stable of handicappers at a reduced rate and reduced risk. The fantasy sports gaming system 10 also implements a public video-driven contest between professional and amateur handicappers. Players can switch between handicappers.

It is believed that the presently disclosed system 10 is the first of its kind to present fantasy sports gaming, including handicappers, by way of an Internet TV link. It is also believed that the presently disclosed system 10 is the first of its kind to provide access to professional handicappers, particularly in the form of video presentations, on-line links and subscription professional handicapping services. It is believed that the disclosed system 10 is the first of its kind to present fantasy sports gaming, including handicappers, by way of an IPTV link, a mobile TV link and a video handheld device link.

The professional handicapper videos permit the player to better manage his/her fantasy gaming accounts. The professional handicapper provides advice to the player on how to bet, how to maximize returns on bets, how to hedge bets. This is somewhat similar to portfolio management in the stock market. This aspect of the system 10 has not heretofore been done via the Internet or an IPTV link, a mobile TV link and a video handheld device link.

Also, the fantasy sports gaming system 10 may implement an SLC SportsXchange website 16 d that features amateur handicappers whose results are measured against professional handicappers. Every month, for example, one or more of the amateur handicappers may be chosen to be featured on the main SLC website alongside the professional handicappers. FIG. 9 illustrates an exemplary screen display of a computer device 19 presented to a player showing an exemplary player profile displayed on an exemplary displayed SLC SportsXchange page.

The SLC SportsXchange website 16 d is an all-sports social networking community site. It is the first known community website 16 d devoted to all-sports and dedicated to sports fans, sports bettors and fantasy sports players. The SLC SportsXchange website 16 d may include, for example, the content discussed below.

Member/player customization—Members can build and customize their own profiles on templates that include their interest in specific sports, hobbies and favorite teams, answers to questionnaires and surveys, blogs, photo and video uploads/downloads shot or chosen by them. Members/players may develop their own audio and video podcasts, radio shows, video shows and video blogs for individual or multiple running commentaries on current sporting events, and audio and video single or multiple episode shows based on real and/or imaginary events. Members may add favorite links, fantasy games, contests and build leagues.

Member participation—There are chat rooms, sports jokes, horoscopes, amateur handicapper contests, e-commerce, a sports related dating service, sports related classifieds, memorabilia and ticket trading available on the SLC SportsXchange website 16 d. Members can participate in forums for all the major sports featured on SLC. Over time, as more members include niche areas, additional content such as extreme sports, tennis, fishing and riding may be introduced. Content for sports with a smaller number of fans may come from niche magazines, for free or for a minimal price, or from members. Questionnaires and surveys may be submitted to players. Answers to these surveys may be used to shape the community aspects of the SLC SportsXchange website 16 d and act as additional content on member profiles.

Community tools—The SLC SportsXchange website community may include communication technology such as Skype™, internet messages (IMs), buddy lists, email capability, address books, alerts when friends come online, community search, video search, access to Google search, mobile applications and a tie-in to sports terrestrial, digital and satellite radio stations and programs. The SLC SportsXchange website 16 d is a place where like-minded people can interact with old friends and meet new ones. Players are able to search other profiles and content, in order to make new friends, if the profiled individuals want their information to be freely available. However, if members choose to do so, they will be able to maintain selectivity by preventing their profiles from going into general circulation. They can restrict their profiles to their own circle of friends and keep the information even from their friend's friends.

Sports Information—Sports scores, statistics and news are also displayed. The sports information on the SLC SportsXchange website 16 d presents information relating to major sports on the SLC portion of the site and other sports, such as boxing, Olympic events and certain niche sport areas. This content is readily licensed from companies such Covers, Stats Inc., RotoWire, AP or Reuters.

Member (user) generated video and radio—The SLC SportsXchange website 16 d may feature member (user)-generated short-form sports video and radio content derived from its members and online players along with feeds from sports related college TV and radio stations and film and video/radio school students who want their content distributed. SLC will have weekly and monthly contests for best personal sports video programming, in which players vote on what they consider to be top sports videos made by other players. These contests may be broadly promoted and players are encouraged to vote on their favorites. Prizes for video contest victories may be awarded from sponsors and from stores in the shopping mall or they may be in cash.

Handicapper information will also be available on the SLC SportsXchange site and it will provide access to handicapper pools, predictions and personal appointments. It will also be the home of amateur handicappers and the various contests between amateur and professional handicappers.

The SLC SportsXchange will also have numerous “casual games” like puzzles, arcade games, board games, word games and sports related video games.

FIG. 10 is a flow diagram illustrating exemplary embodiments of methods 70 in accordance with the principles of the present invention. Exemplary methods 70 are implemented as follows.

An Internet-enabled interactive display system 19 is provided 71 that is located at a consumer site. The display system 19 may be comprised of an interactive television, an IPTV system, a telecom provider and/or company system, a mobile system, a handheld device system, or a web-enabled computer device 19. An Internet-enabled server system 11 is provided 72 that stores handicapping information derived from one or more professional handicappers for purposes of information and playing a fantasy betting sports game. The Internet-enabled server system 11 implements a website 16 d. A professional handicapper is selected 73 at the interactive display system 19 whose handicapping information is desired to play the fantasy betting sports game. The selection is communicated 74 from the interactive display system 19 to the server system 11 via the Internet. The handicapping information relating to the fantasy betting sports game is communicated 75 from the server system 11 to the display system 19 via the Internet.

Thus, systems and methods for delivering interactive fantasy sports games, fantasy betting contests. and interactive handicapping information to consumers have been disclosed. The disclosed systems and methods also provide for a social networking community and an all-sports community website. It is to be understood that the above-described embodiments are merely illustrative of some of the many specific embodiments that represent applications of the principles of the present invention. Clearly, numerous and other arrangements can be readily devised by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the invention.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/42
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3288, G07F17/32
European ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/32P2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Nov 10, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: SCORE LINE CHANNEL, LLC, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MCMONIGLE, MACE;THOMAS, SCOTT;GIFFIN, SHAWN;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:018599/0552;SIGNING DATES FROM 20061027 TO 20061106