World’s Largest Sports Blog Network in FOX Sports Fold
Los Angeles – FOX Sports Interactive Media (FSIM), the digital production and distribution arm of the FOX Sports Media Group, and home to FOXSports.com on MSN, the world’s second-most-visited sports Web site (26.2 monthly users, Aug. 2010), announced today that it has acquired Yardbarker, the largest network of sports blogs on the Web. The purchase was announced today by Jeff Husvar, Executive Vice President & General Manager of FSIM and Yardbarker CEO Peter Vlastelica. The Yardbarker operation remains in its current San Francisco location, and continues to operate on a standalone basis. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
FSIM and Yardbarker already had a working relationship prior to closing the purchase yesterday. In Oct. 2009, the entities reached a multiyear sales and content arrangement that expanded a pre-existing content partnership.
Yardbarker, with its 7.5 million average monthly users and strong management team, joins FOXSports.com, Scout.com, whatifsports.com and several sites belonging to FOX’s owned-and-operated regional sports networks. Yardbarker delivers an array of unique and diverse voices through independent blog content and athlete blogs, which complements FOXSports.com’s big event coverage and the niches serviced by Scout.com and whatifsports.com, while expanding the comprehensive local content provided by FOX’s regional sports networks.
“Yardbarker brings unique content and a younger demographic to FSIM’s existing offerings, deepening our reach editorially,” said Husvar. “Blogging has changed the landscape of sports coverage on the Web, and Yardbarker is the best sports blogging network operating today. We need to have these bloggers and citizen journalists contributing to the discussion right alongside Jay Glazer, Mark Kriegel, Ken Rosenthal and Jason Whitlock, some of the most renowned sports columnists in the world.”
“We are thrilled to be officially joining the FOX Sports family, one of the best known brands in sports media,” said Vlastelica. “Sports commentary is shifting toward conversation and authenticity, and the talented bloggers in the Yardbarker Network, who number in the hundreds, deserve to have their voices heard by the masses — which clearly this acquisition ensures.”
Yardbarker is the largest network of sports and athlete blogs on the Web, reaching 15 million men 18-34 every month through a unique model that combines the scalability of an advertising network with the original content and brand loyalty of a vertical media company. Yardbarker was born out of relationships between Yardbarker.com and the hundreds of independent sports publishers who “hung out” on the site to promote their content. What started as an informal affiliation of sites with like-minded audiences has evolved into a rapidly growing media company that serves advertisers, publishers and celebrities in completely unique ways. Yardbarker affiliate sites – which cover all categories of popular sports — are diligently screened for content quality and consistency, and each publisher agrees to editorial guidelines that ensure an advertisers’ high-value campaigns will be run in safe, “well lit” environments. Yardbarker is based in San Francisco.
About FOX Sports Media Group
FOX Sports Media Group (FSMG) is the umbrella entity representing News Corporation’s wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets under Chairman and CEO David Hill. Built with brands that are capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, FSMG includes ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing partnerships. FSMG now includes FOX Sports, the sports television arm of the FOX Broadcasting Company; Fox’s 19 regional sports networks, their affiliated regional web sites and FSN national programming; SPEED and SPEED2; Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Soccer Plus; FUEL TV; and Fox College Sports. In addition, FSMG also includes FOX Sports Interactive Media, which comprises FOXSports.com on MSN, whatifsports.com and scout.com, reaching over 20 million unique visitors monthly. Also included are Fox’s interests in joint-venture businesses FOX Deportes, Big Ten Network and STATS, LLC, as well as licensing agreements that establish the FOX Sports Radio Network, FOX Sports Skybox restaurants and FOX Sports Grills.