PlayerSearch Blog

by Ted Kasten, Founder of PlayerSearch

Sports Illustrated getting into Ad Network Space???

SI.com is now selling the advertising for Citizen Sports Network (ProTrade). I am not sure if this is the beginning of a new sports focused ad network as Derrick at RotoNation states, but I would be very impressed with SI.com if it was. It would make perfect sense for SI. They have one of the most well respected brands in sports, a huge ad sales team and existing relationships with the right brand advertisers. Until their purchase of FanNation, Sports Illustrated never made a major push into the on-line world other than simply putting some of their off-line content on the web. They missed out on the huge growth in fantasy games by focusing solely on content that has quickly become a commodity. Despite having one of the most recognized names in sports, SI.com trails the leading independent fantasy games companies like Fanball, Myfantasyleague.com and rtsports.com.

The only missing piece for SI.com to build a leading ad network for sports is the technology to deliver, track and optimize ads…thanks to companies like Adify, that problem is solved! Adify provides the ad network technology for vertical ad networks. Adify has identical set-ups for Forbes for their finance focused network of blogs and for Martha Stewart for her lifestyle network. Adify was recently sold to Cox for $300 million cash.

Oh…the other missing piece is the publishers that have all the visitors/eyeballs. Fantasy Sports Ventures has locked up over 100 sports content sites after they launched their ad network in early 2007 and they are now a top ten sports site based on aggregated traffic. There are a couple of major publishers left, but not many. Although if the facebook apps that Citizen Sports Network develops for SI.com are as successful as their March Madness application that drew 135,000 participants (this is a larger audience than many independent fantasy sports content sites), they may not need any other sports content sites.

I think this is a great combination for SI.com and Citizen Sports Network.  One amazing stat from the facebook application that ProTrade built for SI.com…the ProTrade version registered just over 1,000 members while the SI.com branded version registered over 135,000 members for the exact same product.  I am not sure if there were other driving factors involved here, but if not, this says a lot about the power of a trusted and recognized brand on facebook.

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May 7, 2008 - Posted by | Vertical Ad Networks | , , , , , ,

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