SBJ/July 26 - August 1, 2004/E Sports

Yahoo! takes over Tiger beat

Yahoo! has replaced SportsLine.com as the official U.S. portal for Tiger Woods’ Web site, TigerWoods.com, according to Yahoo! officials and representatives of the golfer.

Yahoo!’s multiyear deal went into effect during the British Open earlier this month.
Yahoo!’s multiyear deal, which was implemented during the British Open, is expected to be formally announced this week. Yahoo! Sports and Woods’ site will share content, and a joint effort will be made to sell advertising for TigerWoods.com.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the two sites will share revenue from advertising sold jointly, according to Rob McNamara, Woods’ interactive-business manager at IMG. There also will be cross-promotion of the sites.

The deal marks the end of a seven-year partnership between Woods and SportsLine, which built the original site in 1997 and has been providing content ever since.

McNamara said Woods was “extremely happy” with the relationship with Sports-Line and the change had nothing to do with the company’s precarious financial situation. SportsLine has suffered significant losses since its inception and is currently considering an offer by parent company Viacom to buy the 25.6 million shares of SportsLine it does not already own at a cost of nearly $40 million.

In 2001, TWI, IMG’s interactive arm, took over development of the site, but the content-sharing agreement with SportsLine continued until its recent expiration.

A spokesman for SportsLine said the company still has a good relationship with Woods and IMG but SportsLine in recent years has moved away from superstar sites. SportsLine no longer hosts sites for Shaquille O’Neal and Cal Ripken, although it still produces sites for Michael Jordan, John Daly and Joe Namath.

TigerWoods.com typically draws about 250,000 unique visitors per month, according to internal numbers cited by McNamara.

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