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SBJ/October 15-21, 2012/Media

Tech issues put Scout conversion on hold

Fox Sports Interactive Media has indefinitely postponed its planned relaunch of its college sports and recruiting network Scout.com, which would be rebranded as Fox Sports Next.

The company in August announced its intent to reposition Scout.com around the start of football season in order to create far greater integration with its national and regional TV coverage of college sports. Fox also planned a new blog-style presentation for the site with additional video and social media features for the new Fox Sports Next.

A series of significant technical issues with the site, however, have delayed the relaunch. Company executives declined to outline specific problems or publicly target a new date. An initial attempt at the migration to the new Fox Sports Next platform earlier this month rendered many pages inaccessible, angering subscribers.

Fox executives say the new Fox Sports Next brand will still be implemented at some point. In the meantime, Fox has reverted to the legacy version of Scout.com, where paid subscribers can access their content and post on message boards. A beta version of the new destination remains available at foxsportsnext.com. Fox has been working with New York-based digital agency Sarkissian Mason on the relaunch effort.

“We experienced technical difficulties during the transition to our new platform. While we’re working to address the issues, we have restored access to Scout.com,” Fox said in a statement. “Users should now be able to sign in and access Scout.com as before.”

Scout.com competes in a highly competitive segment of digital sports media that also includes rival recruiting sites 247Sports.com, Yahoo’s Rivals.com, and ESPN Recruiting Nation, among others. Scout.com launched in 2001, and Fox bought the property four years later.

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