MCLEAN, Va., Jan. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The USA TODAY Sports Media Group announced today that it has completed its acquisition of Fantasy Sports Ventures (FSV) and Big Lead Sports, the largest independent digital sports property in North America. USA TODAY’s parent company, Gannett Co. Inc., was already a significant minority shareholder of FSV and elected to complete the purchase through an acquisition of FSV’s assets. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
When all FSV assets are ultimately combined with the other properties within the USA TODAY Sports Media Group, the digital property is expected to become one of the top five sports sites on the web based on the most recent comScore metrics. The digital assets that currently make up the USA TODAY Sports Media Group include USATODAY.com/sports; digital outlets associated with 81 local Gannett newspapers and 23 Gannett-owned broadcast television stations; HighSchoolSports.net; and the BNQT Media Group, which includes MMAjunkie.com.
“This deal represents a major step forward for us, giving us dramatically more scale and a great ability to provide engaging, relevant content across the entire spectrum of sports fans,” said Tom Beusse, president of USA TODAY Sports Media Group. “The Big Lead sites fit very nicely into our existing portfolio, and now give us an unmatched sports platform to go along with our existing national and local strengths. These new content distribution outlets will enable us to better serve sports enthusiasts while providing advertisers and marketers with a one-stop solution for all of their sports marketing needs.”
With nearly 19 million unique visitors in the latest comScore report, the FSV and Big Lead Sports property provide distinct and independent coverage of every major sport, including football, baseball, basketball, auto racing, hockey, soccer, college sports, high school sports and fantasy sports. The sites include the TheBigLead.com, a leading source of breaking news and commentary across all sports, as well as well-respected sports sites that include BaseballHQ.com, KFFL.com, TheHuddle.com, Baseball-Reference.com, HoopsWorld.com, HoopsHype.com, and many others.
“We are very proud that we built Big Lead Sports into the No. 1 independent online sports property,” said Chris Russo, founder and chief executive officer of Big Lead Sports. “Joining the USA TODAY family will enable Big Lead Sports to grow further and provide a new and bigger platform for our talented writers, contributors and advertising partners.”
“The Big Lead sites have done a great job developing unique, independent voices and distinct points of view,” said Dave Morgan, the USA TODAY Sports Media Group’s senior vice president of content and editor-in-chief. “This acquisition extends our reach and deepens our engagement with core sports audiences, and is a strong complement to our position as a leading national sports property.”
The acquisition also provides USA TODAY Sports Media Group with a strong initial footprint in fantasy sports. Last year more than 32 million consumers in the U.S. actively participated in fantasy sports. Among the assets in the FSV/Big Lead Sports property are more than 25 fantasy games and products, with more than 500,000 active and paying subscribers.
The USA TODAY Sports Media Group encompasses all sports initiatives across USA TODAY, as well as Gannett Co. Inc.’s 81 community newspaper properties, 23 broadcast television stations, HighSchoolSports.net, BNQT.com and MMAjunkie.com. USA TODAY is owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI – News).
Really big deal for the guys over at The Big Lead. As a lobster, you know I get a lot of content from those guys. Love that they have been purchased. Well deserved, they work hard. Congrats, guys. You just gave hope to sports bloggers everywhere that they might be the next big thing… and get paid for it. If I’m not mistaken, Mr. McIntyre, this calls for a Van Damme dance.