SBJ/June 29-July 5, 2015/Media

ThePostGame opens up the playing field with new agreement

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ThePostGame opens up the playing field with new agreement

At the ripe old age of 4, the online sports magazine ThePostGame is growing up.

When it launched in 2011, the site known for mixing long features with humor and commentary, grew much of its audience thanks to its affiliation with Yahoo Sports.

Now, the sports culture and lifestyle digital magazine is ready to spread its wings and has come up with a plan to expand beyond Yahoo.

The site, headed up by digital media veteran David Katz, still is keeping an affiliation with Yahoo Sports. But under terms of a multiyear deal that’s being announced today, ThePostGame’s Yahoo Sports deal becomes nonexclusive, freeing the site up to syndicate its content to other outlets and other platforms.

“We don’t have the luxury of other sites that can build a site and not worry about traffic, audience and revenue,” said Katz, the magazine’s founder and CEO. “We have had a strong Yahoo partnership since 2011, but there is a lot more flexibility built into this new deal. We are focused on content distribution.”

Katz adds that the digital magazine has been profitable every year since launch.

So far in 2015, ThePostGame touts a total monthly “reach” of 40 million users across all platforms (uniques, YouTube views, email subscribers and social feeds like Twitter and Facebook), said Katz, who has held top positions at Yahoo Sports and CBS Digital in the past. Plus, 40 percent of ThePostGame.com’s audience does not visit Yahoo Sports — which is probably the biggest reason Katz has for wanting to expand beyond its Yahoo partnership.

ThePostGame will look to sell its content to news organizations and websites looking for an easy way to add sports content. In addition to full-length articles, ThePostGame will sell video and social media content.

Katz expects these kinds of deals to range from a straight content sale to revenue sharing.

Katz said he also would consider “link-back commitments” for the content.

“We are very aggressive about video syndication,” said Katz, noting that its YouTube performance has logged more than 470 million views in the past 12 months — up 36 percent year over year.

Katz sees another opportunity for growth through sponsored content. Since 2011, it has developed more than 250 sponsored programs with big name brands like Toyota, Gillette, Hyundai and Kellogg’s. For example, it created a campaign around Hyundai’s NCAA sponsorship that included editorial features and promotion on digital and social media platforms.

To that end, Katz is launching TPG Studios to develop sponsored content and signed with WPP’s new ESP Properties group to advise and produce content for the agency’s clients.

— John Ourand

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