Circuit City Sponsors YouTube for Armchair Quarterbacks

Circuit City has partnered with YouTube to launch a new channel on the video-sharing site just in time for football season — or more accurately, fantasy football season. The “FANalysts” channel features a rotating cast of amateur analysts and invites users to upload their own commentary, which can then be judged by other viewers.

For Circuit City, the channel is a way to ingratiate itself with hardcore football fans, particularly those in the market for a new wide-screen TV or TiVo package. For YouTube, FANalysts is a way to monetize the hordes of fantasy football enthusiasts already using the site to express their often passionate opinions.

“Fantasy football is such an enormous revenue generator. The numbers are staggering, and that’s reflected on our site,” said Andrew Bangs, marketing community specialist for YouTube. “[Considering] the sheer number of armchair analysts and kitchen quarterbacks voicing their opinions — and a lot of these people are really funny, very entertaining — It made sense to put them all in one place and have it coincide with the upcoming season.”

The cast of regular “fanalysts” will upload new videos every Tuesday, but viewers uploading their own videos have a chance to become one of the regulars if they are selected by the YouTube audience. Circuit City will select the top 10 amateur videos and the YouTube community will then have the chance to vote on their favorite.

Sole-sponsor channels are an increasingly common phenomenon on YouTube, as the Google-owned site searches for an advertising strategy. How large a role they will ultimately play remains to be seen, however, due to their fairly work-intensive nature relative to simple display advertising.

“Something like this is a really interactive program, and to do this kind of program requires a fairly complex, cooperative effort on the side [of the sponsor] and our side, so we can’t just roll them out” constantly, said Bangs.

The FANalyst channel represents the first use of the site’s new “carousel browser,” which allows ads and videos to be served directly adjacent to one another. “It has huge potential for other sponsors who want to work with us on these things. It can be scaled really well,” he added.

The Fantasy Sports Trade Association said that more than 18 million people worldwide now participate in some kind of fantasy sports league, collectively generating nearly $2 billion in annual revenue.

The YouTube site went live this week, and so far has only a handful of uploaded videos, though it does already boast about 120 subscribers.

The channel “provides a new way for us to engage our core customer base and challenge them to become part of our online community,” Brian Bradley, SVP multi-channel at Circuit City, told ClickZ News.

Circuit City branding, particularly its logo, is prominent on the page, which is designed in the retailer’s signature red-and-white color scheme.

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