SBJ/July 17 - 23, 2006/This Weeks News

After Cup, Fox to pump up soccer site

Call it a sign of the broadband revolution: Fox is planning to drive interest in its linear Fox Soccer Channel cable network by investing more heavily in its Web site,

Buoyed by a record amount of traffic during the recently concluded FIFA World Cup, Fox plans to invest “definitely seven fi gures” to build up the site, said Fox Soccer Channel GM David Sternberg. attracted 4.9 million unique visitors and 118 million page views during June, placing it second among soccer sites for the month behind the official Yahoo! FIFA World Cup site, which had 8.2 million unique visitors and 506 million page views, according to comScore Media Metrix traffic data. ESPN’s finished third for the month, with 3.8 million unique visitors and 66 million page views.

“One of the most impressive aspects is that we outdrew ESPN SoccerNet, despite the exhaustive cross-promotion on ESPN / ABC Sports,” Sternberg said. “I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we do soccer 365 days a year.”

Also boosting the traffic was Fox’s partnership with MSN, which gave Fox’s soccer site prominent placement during the World Cup. MSN wound up “driving a ton of traffic to the site” during the monthlong event, Sternberg said.

Fox plans to use its seven-figure investment to beef up the most popular parts of the site during the World Cup, including expanded photo galleries, and more videos, blogs and game-tracking technology.

“We expect broad usage will help us continue making strides with our linear network,” Sternberg said. “We should be able to leverage our online audience delivery to get commitments for our linear network.”

Currently, Fox Soccer Channel is in about 25 million homes, via deals with Time Warner Cable, EchoStar and DirecTV. Sternberg expects to be able to increase that now that he has “hard numbers to take to the marketplace.”

Nike, Honda, Cingular Wireless and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment were sponsors on both platforms during the World Cup. Sternberg is negotiating to keep them all online now that the World Cup is over.

Soccer site traffic use

Rank Site
No. of unique U.S.
visitors, 000s
Page views
1 Yahoo! Fifa World Cup
Yahoo! Fifa World Cup: English

NOTE: Unique visitors are a measure of people, not individual visits. A unique visitor is a person who visited a site at least once at home or at work.
Source: comScore Media Metrix

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