SBJ/20090126/SBJ In-Depth

Sites that got deals done

SB Nation
In part the brainchild of former AOL programming executive Jim Bankoff, this network of local sports blogs last fall received roughly $5 million from a group of industry luminaries including Accel Partners, Allen & Co., former AOL colleague and Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, and former San Francisco 49er and current venture capital industry executive Brent Jones, among others.
One Season
This new virtual sports stock exchange, which incorporates some of the trading concepts of Citizen Sports Network’s existing ProTrade but involves real money, earlier this month closed a $3.5 million round of Series A funding led by Charles River Ventures. The venture financing outfit has a significant presence in Boston and the Bay Area and focuses on earlier-stage companies.
Challenge Games
This Texas-based outfit, which produces a series of online games that incorporate both fantasy gaming and virtual card collecting, in the fall received $10 million in Series B funding in a round led by Globespan Capital Partners. The MLB Advanced Media licensee, whose game titles include Baseball Boss, had just completed a $4.5 million Series A round a few months earlier, in July.
Bleacher Report
This Bay Area-based outpost, which has quickly made its name in a form of citizen sports journalism, in November garnered a $3.5 million round of Series B funding led by its original backer, Hillsven Capital. The site is buttressed by content distribution agreements with both CBSSports.com and FoxSports.com.
Play Hard Sports
Another producer of casual online sports games, earlier this month it garnered $8 million in a second round of funding involving Valhalla Partners, TriplePoint Capital and New Enterprises Associates. While the established console-based software companies such as EA and Take-Two currently dominate sports video gaming, this outfit is after a less serious player. Its PC-based games are designed for short periods of play but also incorporate elements of massive multiplayer games popular in other genres.
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