SBJ/April 2 - 8, 2007/This Weeks News

Jayski creator sells to ESPN, stays with site

ESPN has acquired Jayski.com, a Web site that collects NASCAR news, rumors, links, information and statistics.

Jayski.com founder Jay Adamczyk, who created the site in 1996 for a class project and made it his full-time job in 1999, will continue to assimilate the bountiful supply of information that fills Jayski.com, which covers everything from breaking news to team pages to paint schemes and TV ratings.

Terms of the deal were not available. Adamczyk said he had a pair of analysts look at his ad revenue and page hits to determine a value.

ESPN first struck a relationship with Jayski.com in late 2004. The network became a host server for the site and began to help with ad sales in January 2005. A Jayski.com link was created on ESPN.com’s NASCAR page and ESPN received prominent placement on the Web site’s home page.

John Kosner, senior vice president and general manager of ESPN new media, said he wouldn’t tinker too much with Adamczyk’s homespun site. Viewers might see more standard Internet banners and ad units, but the content will remain in Adamczyk’s hands.

“The assumption is that if you make a deal with ESPN, your site is going to look like ESPN,” Kosner said. “But Jay has hit on a successful formula. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel here.”

Adamczyk said Jayski.com has been experiencing its most successful period during the first quarter. February produced 17 million page views, aided largely by the Daytona 500, he said, including 1 million unique hits, which marked the first time he had ever reached 1 million in a month.

When ESPN acquired the rights to televise half of the Nextel Cup schedule and the full Busch Series slate, which began this year, it revamped the ESPN.com motorsports page and hired more reporters. The purchase of Jayski.com fits into that broader strategy of upgrading its NASCAR coverage, Kosner said.

Adamczyk and his partner, Mark Garrow, will serve as contributors for NASCAR coverage on all of ESPN’s media. Adamczyk, a computer programmer who has not attended a race in nearly three years, will contribute his reports by phone.

“I don’t like crowds, I don’t like the traffic,” Adamczyk said. “There’s so much more I can do here in front of my computer. I’m not a reporter who needs to go interview a bunch of people. I’m a Web dude who puts it all together.”

Adamczyk works out of his home in Mooresville, N.C.

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