SBD/April 13, 2011/Media

Expert Opinions: Former Athletes Turned Broadcasters Launching New Website

A group of high-profile former athletes are launching a broadband website in two weeks called TXNSports.com. Network broadcasters Cris Collinsworth, Boomer Esiason, Nick Faldo, Howie Long, Cal Ripken Jr. and Phil Simms are launching the site April 26 with 16W Marketing. Frank Vuono, a partner with 16W, said the group is looking to add more talent, particularly with college football and basketball. Its first deal is a partnership with Big Lead Sports to produce a show for the NFL Draft. Big Lead Sports and TXNSports will jointly sell that programming, Vuono said. Big Lead Sports CEO Chris Russo said his network of websites will benefit from the partnership. "Working around the draft was a great way to get access to this talent," Russo said. "We might explore other things going forward." Vuono said he is using the model for the old NFL Quarterback Club, when he was the head of licensing for the league. "We can put all of our guys together and market them as a group and, frankly, launch our own network because our guys are prolific," Vuono said. "They provide a lot of content to a lot of other people. It would make sense to bring that all together and take all the content they provide on a regular basis, put it onto one site and repurpose it and come up with some original programming." That will lead to endorsements, appearances, voice-overs and testimonials. Programming will be based around TXN's deal with Turner/SI.com and Allstate to produce a series of Web vignettes called Behind The Mic. Vuono said he is open to partnering with additional websites. "We're kind of Switzerland," he said.
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