MSN Lets Visitors Manage Minor League Baseball Team

The new feature--called "Fan Club: Reality Baseball"--lets MSN visitors collectively control the day-to-day management of a minor league baseball team.
Microsoft Corp.'s MSN on Friday said Los Angeles production company LivePlanet would produce the portal's first online original content called "Fan Club: Reality Baseball," which lets MSN visitors control the day-to-day management of a minor league baseball team.

With "Fan Club," participants collectively manage the Schaumberg Flyers, a professional minor league baseball team based in a Chicago suburb. Players vote on such key decisions as the batting lineup, fielding positions and pitching roster.

MSN in May unveiled plans for MSN Originals, an initiative to partner with Hollywood in creating online content to differentiate itself from rivals Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc., and to attract more advertising dollars. Besides LivePlanet, which produced the three-time Emmy-nominated series "Project Greenlight" for HBO and Bravo, MSN also has partnerships with production company Reveille, and multimedia content producer Be Jane Inc.

The Schaumburg Flyers play in the Northern League, which divides its season in half. The winners in each half compete in the playoffs. "Fan Club" is scheduled to launch July 11, the beginning of the second half of the league's 2006 season. Whether the team goes to the playoffs will depend on how well they're managed by MSN visitors.

MSN in a statement said "Fan Club" represents an " evolution in participatory unscripted entertainment relying on audience involvement to determine numerous aspects of game play and strategy."

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