SBJ/April 7-13, 2014/Media

SportsBlog.com secures financing, content deals

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SportsBlog.com, a Nashville-based, user-generated sports content site, has closed on a $1.5 million Series A round of venture financing and recently struck several content partnerships aimed at boosting the site’s audience and overall profile.

The funding round was led by Sports & Entertainment Advisory Group, a venture fund also based in Nashville, and will be used to accelerate new business development. The site, meanwhile, has signed content deals with several former NBA stars to create a new “Legends Corner” on the site, and also hired Priscilla Eshelman and Greg Clements to lead a new in-house sales team. Eshelman and Clements worked together in sales and business development capacities at Salon.com.

SportsBlog.com operates as an open blogging platform, similar to how Bleacher Report was founded and originally operated before gravitating toward a more professionalized structure under Turner Sports’ ownership. More than 20,000 bloggers contribute to SportsBlog.com, and traffic is surpassing 8 million monthly unique users, according to internal metrics. Most writers are unpaid, but SportsBlog.com operates a leaderboard where most-read contributors can earn money.

Among the former basketball stars writing content for the new “Legends Corner” destination are Dale Ellis, Tim Hardaway, Sam Perkins, Danny Schayes and Spencer Haywood. The initiative follows up on a content partnership SportsBlog.com struck late last year with the National Basketball Retired Players Association, and another deal with the Women’s National Basketball Players Association that has WNBA stars such as Tanisha Wright of the Seattle Storm writing on the site.

“We see a certain momentum building behind us,” said Roy Dano, SportsBlog.com founder and chief executive. “We think this round of financing, and the new sales team, will really jump-start us.”


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