SBJ/20100329/This Week's News

Web site to provide sports power rankings

New York-based Web site publisher Mediaite plans next month to launch SportsGrid.com, a destination devoted to compiling power rankings of individuals, teams and companies from across the sports world.

The new site would join sister operations Mediaite.com, GossipCop.com, Styleite.com and Geekosystem.com. The power rankings would be tabulated by using a specially developed algorithm that pools a variety of metrics, including TV ratings; Web traffic and circulation counts; attendance; number of Twitter followers; on-field performance for players and coaches; and franchise values.

The same company produces Mediaite.com.

Mediaite was founded and is led by Dan Abrams, former general manager of MSNBC and current chief legal analyst for NBC News. The power rankings on Mediaite.com have quickly become the most prominent element of the portfolio’s offerings and are widely cited across the media industry. The sites, combining to draw more than 5 million unique visitors per month according to internal metrics, also offer a range of news and commentary, presented in blog format, but that element will be downplayed on SportsGrid.com.

“We’re really doubling down on our rankings element for SportsGrid, and this will provide an effective, fun way to see how somebody in one part of the sports world such as an owner or an executive stacks up against, say, a linebacker,” Abrams said. “We’ll have that master buzz ranking and also smaller ones within specific sports and segments. And we’ll be able to see movement up and down the rankings pretty close to real time as events and games happen.”

SportsGrid.com will be a free, ad-supported venture. The effort will be aided by a partnership with Rotowire to provide statistical and news information. Microsoft’s Bing.com has signed on as a launch sponsor, and entries into that search engine will form part of the ranking algorithm.

As part of a run-up to the new site’s launch, Mediaite.com recently published a ranking of top sports bloggers, online writers and tweeters, with ESPN’s Bill Simmons topping the list.

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