SBJ/October 31-November 6, 2011/Media

Active.com seeks media partnership

Wasserman Media Group is shopping the deal for Active.com

Active.com, the sports registration and activities site of the Active Network, is actively shopping its millions of monthly unique visitors and seeking a partnership with a media entity that would covet such heavy traffic.

Active.com varies from 5 million to 8 million unique visitors a month, and since the difference between the No. 5 most visited site and the No. 10 sports website is now slightly less than 8.2 million unique visitors a month based on comScore data, such a deal could be tempting for any company looking to increase its numbers.

The website gets between 5 million and 8 million unique visitors a month.
Through its event registrations, Active.com also processes 70 million annual transactions.

“Their traffic numbers are intriguing, but this about a full-blown media partnership, not just a traffic buy,” said one source who had looked at the deal. “They’re approaching a lot of sports media groups to see if there is a good fit.”

Another intriguing aspect is just who is shopping the deal for Active. It’s Wasserman Media Group, not known as a digital dealmaker, but certainly an agency with the requisite contacts with the sports media world.

Disney-owned ESPN was listed as Active’s biggest shareholder when Active filed its IPO earlier this year. After being dropped by MSN in 2004, ESPN did a deal with Active.com to regain some traffic. However, sources said that the commercial agreement between ESPN and Active expires at the end of this year and is unlikely to renew.

“Traffic is still important, but the industry is paying attention to quality traffic, so anyone looking at this would have to see if participatory traffic fits with sports traffic in terms of age and other demos,” said Chris Russo, CEO of Fantasy Sports Ventures, a roll-up of hundreds of sports sites, including Big Lead Sports, Baseballreference.com and Hoopshype.com.

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