SBJ/September 4 - 10, 2006/This Weeks News

NBC Sports will roll out redesigned site on Tuesday

NBC Sports plans to unveil the fully redesigned and rebranded version of NBCSports.com on Tuesday, with the Web site set to feature sports news, video analysis, live event video and a heavy emphasis on fantasy sports.

The launch marks the latest step in a systemic revamp of the site that began earlier this year. For the past two weeks, the site has featured an interim redesign promoting its upcoming “Sunday Night Football” broadcasts. Before that, Web traffic to the site was pushed to the sports page of MSNBC.com.

NBC has also completed a purchase of Allstar Stats Inc., the Somers, N.Y.-based fantasy games company that is the parent of RotoWorld.com and is powering a weekly fantasy contest centered on the “SNF” broadcasts. With the purchase and site redesign, NBC now plans a weekly online fantasy football show titled “NBC Fantasy Fix.” Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

“Our expectation is that between our assets, our promotion of this, and our brand, there’s no reason we won’t be competitive and get a piece of the online sports audience,” said Gary Zenkel, NBC Sports executive vice president for strategic partnerships. “We’ll have a voice on this I think fans will want to hear.”

Separately, NBC and MediaZone have extended a partnership that began with live online match video from Wimbledon. The two parties later this month intend to announce a series of online video offerings, primarily in Olympic sports.

Though NBC won’t be streaming its coverage of Notre Dame football games online, the network is constructing several video features for the site, including Friday afternoon pregame content.

The network made several editorial hires to lead the new NBCSports.com: Joe Gesue, formerly director of Olympic research for NBC Universal, will be editorial director of the site; Tom Seeley, former managing editor of FoxSports.com, will be coordinating producer; and Barry Werner, former executive editor for CSTV, will be managing editor.

Writers hired include Tom Curran, Alan Abrahamson and John Walters.

Sprint, Toyota and Vonage have signed as initial sponsors of the site.

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