SBJ/Jan. 24-30, 2011/Media

CSN Mid-Atlantic buys Redskins, Nationals blogs

Continuing its strategy to build up its online news and analysis operations, Comcast SportsNet’s Mid-Atlantic regional sports network bought two Washington, D.C.-area blogs that cover the Redskins and the Nationals.

Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic picked up RealRedskins.com and NatsInsider.com for an undisclosed amount. The RSN hired the sites’ two authors, Rich Tandler and Mark Zuckerman, respectively, to report full time for the RSN’s website. They also will appear on TV occasionally.

The move follows Comcast’s strategy to acquire blogs. Last March, CSN Philadelphia bought the popular Philadelphia sports blog The700Level.com. One month later, it bought a Phillies blog called BeerLeaguer.com.

In addition to sharing content, CSN will look to sell online ads across its blogs and main local site, adding sponsorship dollars.

“It’s a growth strategy,” said Mark Lapidus, CSN Mid-Atlantic’s vice president of digital media. “We are trying to find the best journalists we can.”

RealRedskins.com and NatsInsider.com will maintain their own URLs. Much of the blogs’ content will be featured on CSN Mid-Atlantic’s website, and many CSN stories will have links on the blogs.

“The blogs are not going to substantially change,” Lapidus said. “If anything, this enables them to do more on those sites because they’re now with us full time.”

Zuckerman has freelanced for CSN Mid-Atlantic since March. Zuckerman gained notoriety last spring when, as an independent blogger, he raised money from his readers to attend the Nationals spring training. Soon afterward, CSN hired him as a freelancer.

“That got my attention,” Lapidus said. “It proved he had a following.”

He will cover both the Nats and the Caps for CSNWashington.com.

Tandler wrote his Redskins blog during his spare time, while he was working in restaurant management.

CSN Mid-Atlantic is in the process of hiring its first digital media managing editor. It recently hired Jennifer Williams from ESPN to be a digital producer.

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