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DESPITE BOFFO AD $$, SPORTS WEB SITES STILL FACE HURDLES
Published August 7, 1998
Ad revenue for CBS SportsLine last year "soared well beyond the industry average of 157%, climbing 475%," while Disney's ESPN SportsZone's jumped 36% to $9M in '97, according to David Sweet of the WALL STREET JOURNAL, who cites InterWatch, a publication of InterMedia Advertising Solutions. The two sites "are drawing increased revenue from subscribers to premium areas and electronic-commerce, but they are heavily dependent on ad money," and in an economic downturn, advertisers "are likely to slash Internet advertising first because the young medium is less entrenched." Times Mirror Interzines President Mike Dubester estimates that advertising "contributes 75% of the division's Web site revenue." Shelley Morrison, VP/ Advertising for Buena Vista Internet Group, which runs ESPN's site, along with the NBA, NFL and NASCAR sites, estimates that 40% of the sites' revenue comes from sponsorships. PricewaterhouseCoopers Dir of New Media Peter Petrusky said that sports sites captured 5% of a Internet advertising in '97's fourth quarter. In the first quarter of '98, they brought in 8% of the $351M spent on ads. But Sweet adds that "next year could be challenging for sports sites," as there no events such as the Olympics "that capture attention world-wide" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/7).