SBJ/August 13-19, 2012/Media

New name, content update Fox Sports’ recruiting website

Fox Sports later this month will relaunch and rebrand its college sports and recruiting destination Scout.com as Fox Sports Next.

The move arrives as Fox seeks to update the property, launched in 2001 and acquired by Fox in 2005, to focus on a blog-like content presentation, additional video, and social and community features.

With the rebranding, Fox Sports Next will also have a greater degree of integration with Fox’s national TV coverage of college football and regional coverage of several college sports. Fox Sports Next content and talent, including recruiting analysts Greg Biggins and Jamie Newberg, will regularly be featured on-air. The shift will also far more overtly link the property with its corporate parent, bringing the branding more in line with other Fox Sports properties such as FoxSoccer.com.

“This has been a good, strong, profitable business for us, but we felt it needed some updating and a fresh look,” said Kyle McDoniel, Fox Sports Next senior vice president and general manager. “There’s an entirely new back-end infrastructure in place and an overall framework that’s going to mesh much more strongly with the television side.”

Fox Sports Next used New York-based digital agency Sarkissian Mason to aid it on the relaunch effort.

Several competing sports media brands have rallied around “Next” as a brand concept, most notably ESPN, which has used the tag since 1998 to feature emerging athletes. But McDoniel said the use of “Next” will help create market differentiation for the Fox property, which has often surpassed 5 million unique monthly users and also has a significant subscription content component to the business.

“Recruiting is obviously an important segment,” McDoniel said, “but we’re really looking more broadly than that, which is why ‘Next’ makes sense. We’re going to be much more about what’s coming up overall with your favorite team. [Outgoing Fox Sports Chairman] David Hill always said life is a pregame show, and we’re going to be much more about what’s going to happen next.”

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