SBJ/September 30 - October 6, 2002/E Sports

Yahoo! takes Webcasts off Clear Channel's hands

Imagine a deal where no money is exchanged, no barter arrangement is hammered out. Two companies simply agree to a clutter-free swap.

Yahoo! Sports and Clear Channel Sports just struck such a pact. Clear Channel handed Yahoo! the rights to run live audiocasts of Penn State, Texas A&M, Florida and Iowa State sports contests, four schools for which Clear Channel holds the radio rights. By accepting the package, Yahoo! cured Clear Channel's headache.

Kevin Moore, vice president and general manager of Clear Channel Sports, said the company was tired of dealing with the Webcasts internally.

"It didn't make financial sense for us to continue to do it because it's labor-intensive," he said. "We wanted to make the games available, and they wanted them on their site."

The timing (the school's four football squads are in the top 25) is propitious for Yahoo!, which now hosts football broadcasts for 56 schools in the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Pac-10, Big 12, Big East, Southeastern and Mountain West conferences.

Brian Grey, director of Yahoo! Sports, said the live audiocasts are among the section's most popular features, especially among displaced fans.

"I just got an e-mail from armed forces personnel who were happy they could listen to games outside the U.S.," Grey said, referring to a husband and wife stationed in Malta.

To help publicize its football broadcasts, Yahoo! Sports has started to promote them on the Yahoo! home page during Fridays and Saturday mornings. Other sports, such as basketball and lacrosse, are also part of the three-year Clear Channel agreement.

Clear Channel owns the rights to broadcast games for about a dozen other schools but said it would hold on to their audiocast rights because games were aired on stations owned by Clear Channel.

THE FORCE IS WITH THEM: Though the World Cup ended June 30, the Strike Force lives — and makes money online.

Strike Force T-shirts ($14.95) and posters ($4.95) have been the "hottest items" on the last three months, according to MLS spokesman Trey Fitz-Gerald. Combined, about 5,000 T-shirts and posters have been sold.

The Strike Force, a group of MLS stars marketed heavily by the league before the World Cup, is led by Landon Donovan. The San Jose Earthquakes star's Strike Force T-shirt is the top seller in the category.

Boosted by the World Cup, MLS online sales are up 30 percent from 2001, bringing in about $400,000 with the league's championship game and the holidays still ahead.

Believe it or not, MLS is still selling T-shirts, hats and other wares of the Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny, teams that were folded by the league in January. Most prices have been slashed at least 50 percent.

"We sold through most of our existing inventory in about two months," Fitz-Gerald said. "There was a clear desire to buy a collectible at a very good price."

The Associated Press Sports Editors' site has some catching up to do.

SLOW NEWS YEAR: The Web site of the Associated Press Sports Editors ( has never been known for its rapid updates, despite the AP moniker. But the venue is desperately behind in one category: ridding itself of useless information.

Under "Latest Information" on the home page stands a link to "State of the Internet." The fact the report is 20 months old is bad enough (though at least it offers a historical record).

Worse, the APSE is still promoting last year's convention in a column to the side. An e-mail link asks, "What sessions would you like to see at the 2001 Convention in Baltimore?"

Stale content also appears when looking at past contest winners. ("Will you be attending the APSE convention in Phoenix?" reads one from 1998.)

"One problem we have is we don't have a full-time Webmaster," said John Cherwa, APSE president, who noted the site is maintained by The Dallas Morning News. "It could use some brushing up."

Contact David Sweet at

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