SBJ/February 28 - March 6, 2005/Other News

Arrix leaves CBS SportsLine; joins Univision

Tom Arrix, who took the top sales job at CBS SportsLine.com less than two months ago, is leaving the company to join Univision.com as senior vice president of sales and client services.

Sources said Arrix was unhappy with his role and had asked CBS officials for a larger position in the CBS corporate structure, a request they were unwilling to grant, given that Arrix was promoted to senior vice president of sales in January, soon after CBS parent Viacom Inc. completed its $50 million acquisition of SportsLine.

Arrix wouldn’t comment on those accounts, saying only that he “felt it was the right time to move on and search out new challenges.” His last day at SportsLine was to have been Friday, and he was to join Univision.com today.

CBS has not decided on Arrix’s replacement.

His departure highlights what sources said is a difficult transition for a company that for more than a decade had operated independently of a traditional media company.

CBS officials insisted after the acquisition that they would maintain the status quo at SportsLine, which is projected to generate nearly $67 million from advertising and fantasy sports subscriptions in 2004 and turn its first profit in 2007, according to unaudited financial projections laid out in the proxy statement SportsLine filed in December with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

For their part, CBS officials worked with SportsLine officials to secure one of three fantasy baseball licenses recently issued by MLB Advanced Media.

But sources close to the company said SportsLine staffers were disappointed when CBS, which owns the video streaming rights to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in March, sold those rights to CSTV.

SportsLine had streamed the games a year earlier, and while CBS Sports President Sean McManus said the company did the deal to maximize promotion and distribution, people at SportsLine viewed it as CBS opting for quick cash (reportedly $3 million) rather than committing to the emerging video-to-Web market.

Arrix was formerly the vice president and general sales manager at SportsLine. Mark Mariani, SportsLine’s former president of sales and marketing, hand-picked Arrix as his successor before he accepted a $1.2 million buyout and left the company upon completion of the merger.

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