SBJ/July 14-20, 2014/Media

Volar Video, Sporting News Media create new portal

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Volar Video, the Kentucky-based company that runs youth sports destination iHigh.com, has partnered with Sporting News Media to create Team 1 Sports, a new online portal for all forms of amateur sports.

The new digital network, at Team1Sports.com, builds upon the existing streaming infrastructure, audience and content of iHigh.com to allow various amateur sports organizations to stream their events.

Sporting News Media will run advertising sales for the venture, and with Volar Video has created a revenue-sharing structure for participating groups.

The portal will be free to both participating sports organizations and viewers of the network. The website is set to debut this week.

“Basically, anybody who wants to stream their content can now stream their content,” said David Bertram, Volar Video chief executive. “What we’re looking at is sort of the long tail of the industry and there all sorts of sports out there, preps, lower collegiate levels, summer leagues, and so forth, that can now get their games out there.”

Leagues and teams currently on iHigh.com will be folded into this new Team 1 Sports Network.

Sporting News Media will actively promote the venture through its
various properties, including sportingnews.com, and visitors to Team1Sports.com will have access to the Sporting News ePlayer that includes syndicated video from numerous professional and collegiate properties.

Traffic around the new Team 1 Sports Network will be folded into the existing Sporting News Media/Perform Sports listing for monthly comScore rankings. As a result, what is already a top-10 mainstay in those rankings should see an incremental lift. IHigh.com has averaged around 1.1 million unique users per month. The site’s traffic previously rolled up to Sports Illustrated’s monthly reports in comScore, but that arrangement ended last year.

“This is really much bigger than a comScore traffic assignment deal, though. We’ve constructed a much deeper, integrated partnership,” said Rich Routman, Sporting News Media chief revenue officer. “High school has been a place where we’ve always wanted to grow. And rather than just doing something ourselves, putting some type of tab on our [online] navigation bar, we’ve partnered somebody with an existing brand and an existing audience, and we’re both betting on this to grow significantly.”

American City Business Journals, parent company of SportsBusiness Journal/Daily, is a minority partner in Sporting News Media.

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