SportsLine.com, AOL Alter Deal

  |  October 8, 2003   |  Comments

The original six-year-old deal is scrapped in favor of a scaled-down agreement focused around fantasy sports.

SportsLine.com renegotiated its marketing partnership with AOL, which dated back to the dot-com boom days, getting a refund of shares and cash, the company said Wednesday.

The two companies will continue to work together, with SportsLine.com, publisher of CBS SportsLine.com, powering AOL-branded fantasy sports games on the service. CBS SportsLine.com content will remain on AOL's sports section for the next 13 months.

The renegotiated deal calls for AOL to refund SportsLine.com 1.7 million shares of its stock and forgive the $1 million payment it was scheduled to make this year. SportsLine.com said it would retire the shares.

The move comes as AOL works through the end of many deals struck during its salad days in the late 1990s. The SportsLine.com deal, struck in July 1997, gave it a prominent place in the AOL's sports section as a so-called anchor tenant. The alliance was expanded a year later and again in July 2001. Under the deals, CBS SportsLine.com was advertised on AOL and a number of related brands, like Netscape and CompuServe. The re-jiggered deal calls for an end to all marketing activities.

While online advertising has begun to rebound, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based SportsLine.com has looked to complement it with subscription revenues. Chief among these are its fantasy games, which allow players to run Rotisserie leagues tied to a number of major sports. AOL will offer fantasy games for football, baseball, basketball, hockey, golf, and auto racing.

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