Yahoo Buys Rivals.com to Bolster Sports Content

Adds More than 150 High School and College Sports Sites

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Yahoo has purchased Rivals.com, a network of high school and college sports sites. The acquisition falls into the Yahoo Sports channel, which the portal has been building through fantasy leagues and content deals with brands such as Time Inc.'s Sports Illustrated. This deal significantly bolsters Yahoo's offering of nonprofessional-sports news and content.
Rivals.com comprises a network of 150-plus individual websites devoted to prep and college sports and sorted by state or by school.
Rivals.com comprises a network of 150-plus individual websites devoted to prep and college sports and sorted by state or by school.

Recent surge
According to ComScore, Yahoo Sports drew 15 million unique U.S. visitors in May, up 21% over the previous year, making it the second-most-visited sports site after ESPN.com, which had 17.5 million unique U.S. visitors. A year ago Yahoo trailed Fox Sports but has recently surged, according to the data.

Rivals.com comprises a network of 150-plus individual websites devoted to prep and college sports and sorted by state or by school. The business model includes both subscription and advertising revenue and, collectively, the sites attract approximately 2 million fans each month, according to the announcement of the deal -- although May numbers from Nielsen Net/Ratings reflect slightly lower totals.

Both Rivals.com and Fox Sports-owned Scout.com have experienced audience declines in the past year, according to ComScore, with Scout's 1.5 million visitors in May 2007 down 11% from the previous May and Rival Network's 1.4 million uniques in May 2007 down 14% from the year prior.

Rivals.com was founded in 2001 by Shannon Terry and is based in Brentwood, Tenn.

'Most passionate' visitors
Scott Moore, senior VP-head of news and information at Yahoo, said that of all Yahoo's visitors, "we find that sports fans are among the most passionate."

Earlier this week Yahoo CEO Terry Semel, who had been a leader in building Yahoo into a media and content company, stepped down. He was replaced by Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang.
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