SportsLine USA (http://www.sportsline.com), an online sports service one-third owned by CBS, may go public later this year. Principals declined to comment on speculation that the company is considering an initial public offering for the second half of 1997, which would generate expansion funds. An announcement could come within a few weeks. Separately, Digital Planet, a Culver City, Calif., Web studio, is also expected to soon go public.
Excite and Preview Travel have created a co-branded reservations service at Excite's City.Net travel service (http://city.net). The service will offer online ticketing for airlines, car rentals and hotel reservations. Launch sponsors-including American Airlines, Hilton Hotels and Hertz Corp.-will offer free airfare, hotel and car rental to six winners over the next six weeks. City.Net will provide content for Excite's travel channel, one of 14 channels expected to launch later this month.
Seattle is shaping up to be the battlefront du jour for local services. Microsoft Corp. launched Sidewalk there last week; Digital City, another regional service, responded by naming The Seattle Times as its first major metro newspaper affiliate. The two will share revenue from the partnership. In related news, CitySearch, another startup competitor, said it formed an alliance with The Toronto Star to create a Toronto city guide. Additionally, CitySearch moved its account to Ground Zero, Santa Monica, Calif., from DDB Needham Worldwide, San Francisco.
Swedish home furnishings seller Ikea hired Deutsch, New York, to create a global Web site, opening later this year. Deutsch, which worked with San Francisco-based Novo Media on the pitch, already handles Ikea's U.S. ad account.
Forbes spun off a Digital Media division to oversee the magazine's Web site (http://www.forbes.com) and develop original content for the Web. David Churbuck, senior editor of computers and communication, will lead the new unit as editor. . . . Caroline Vanderlip, former president of AT&T Personal Online Services, was named CEO of Softbank Interactive Marketing. Andrew Batkin becomes chairman of the board.