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Published March 12, 2007
The mainstream online sports world has taken a look at Shannon Terry and Rivals.com, and at least for the moment arrived at a clear consensus: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
Terry's company, based in Brentwood, Tenn., and posting annual revenue of $22 million, is now formally aligned with Sports Illustrated, AOL, Yahoo!, MSNBC, NBCSports.com, The Sporting News and USA Today on content sharing and syndication deals. The agreements, arriving in rapid-fire succession over the past 15 months, have given Rivals.com an unusual amount of reach and flexibility.
By aligning with such a series of top-tier sports brands, Rivals.com now commands a massive voice for its college and recruiting news. But by remaining a private, independent company and not becoming a corporate subsidiary of one of the big guys, the unique voice that garnered all the industry attention has stayed intact.
"The thing we're doing is now much more in vogue," Terry said, referring to the white-hot fan intensity now surrounding college and prep sports. "The category is continuing to grow and there have been frequent solicitations [to buy the company]. But I'm getting a huge kick out of exercising my entrepreneurial impulses."
Next up are expansions of recent entries into e-commerce and social networking, two key steps toward becoming a more diverse and integrated brand. And Rivals.com played a significant role in the recent National Signing Day mushrooming into a major event on the country's sports calendar, with its network registering nearly 75 million page views in the 24-hour period, a 29 percent jump from its total for the 2006 signing day.
"They've done an absolutely fabulous job," said Paul Fichtenbaum, SI.com managing editor. "Signing day is like the Super Bowl to those guys, and they've completely delivered."
— Eric Fisher