SBD/Issue 236/Sports Media

SBD/SBJ Parent Company Purchases Sporting News From Vulcan

American City Business Journals Inc. (ACBJ), parent company of SportsBusiness Daily and SportsBusiness Journal, has announced the acquisition of Sporting News magazine and its related assets from the Paul Allen-owned Vulcan Sports Media Inc. In addition to the 120-year-old Sporting News magazine, the ACBJ purchase includes sportingnews.com, the Sporting News book publishing unit and the Sporting News Radio Network. Terms of the deal, expected to be completed in October, were not disclosed. ACBJ Chair & CEO Ray Shaw: “Sporting News is a strong brand that we believe has considerable upside in print, online and on-air platforms.”

END OF THE ALLEN ERA: The acquisition comes on the heels of a period of transition for the Sporting News brand under Allen’s six-year ownership run. Allen purchased the print operations from Times Mirror Co. in ‘00 for more than $100M and added the radio operations a year later through an acquisition of One-on-One Sports. Sporting News then pursued an extensive series of editorial revampings, a change in the overall design and feel of the magazine, and an overhaul of its online strategy. But unable to turn a profit, even amid rising revenue, Allen formally put the properties on the market early this year. Sporting News CEO Rick Allen said, “We feel fortunate that the next phase of Sporting News growth will be accelerated by ACBJ. They have a deep knowledge of sports and media, a large audience that reinforces and extends our own, and a portfolio of complementary media products” (THE DAILY).

MOVING DAY? In St. Louis, Christopher Boyce reported ACBJ “plans to study the Sporting News’ operations before deciding whether to keep” the magazine’s HQs in Creve Coeur, Missouri. While neither side would disclose the terms of the deal, Rick Allen in a February N.Y. Times article said that he “expected the franchise would ‘fetch into the hundreds of millions.’” Hoover’s estimated Sporting News’ annual revenue at $60M (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/6).

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Media, Vulcan Ventures

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