Fox Sports Interactive has snatched up Yardbarker, a sprawling network of more than 800 sports blogs that claims 16 million unique monthly users and 100 percent growth over the past 12 months.
The sale follows a two-year content-sharing partnership between Fox and Yardbarker, which was founded in 2006. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"Becoming a part of FOX will ensure that Yardbarker has the resources it needs to drive more and more traffic and revenue toward the independent sports sites that we've built our business serving," CEO Pete Vlastelica wrote in a note to Yardbarker's publishers on the company's blog. "We're working with our new parents to increase distribution of your content through the various channels that FOX controls, and to line up even more brand advertisers to run high-CPM campaigns on your sites."
The centerpiece of the network is Yardbarker.com, a sports hub that consists largely of content aggregated from blog within the network. (Its tag line is "Sports Rumors, Gossip, Blogs, News, Discussion.") Yarbarker.com received about 3.5 million unique views a month, according to Quantcast.
In a telephone interview, Vlastelica said the sale was motivated less by a sagging ad market - the Yardbarker network has had consecutive record-breaking quarters for the past year and a half, he said - but by the opportunity to augment his network's five-person sales staff.
"It's about the opportunity to scale our network, which means adding more sites, driving more traffic and being able to monetize that with a larger sales office," he said. "We had a sales team that was able to sell effectively at the reach we built as an independent network, but with Fox behind us we can take it up to the next level."
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Douglas Quenqua is a journalist based in Brooklyn, NY who writes about culture and technology. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New York Observer, and Fortune.
March 19, 2014