Terra Lycos, FOXSports.com Team

These days, it’s difficult to tell if you’re reading the sports page or the business page. Some recent examples: the sale of the Red Sox; CMGI’s stadium-naming deal; or the IBM’s new ad campaign featuring 1980s hoops stars.

Sports is big business. Fans are passionate and happily shell out billions of dollars on tickets, jerseys, concessions and satellite TV packages every year. That’s why corporate America courts them so aggressively.

The latest example is a multi-year, multi-million dollar content, sales and marketing alliance between Terra Lycos and FOXSports.com.

Specific financial terms were not disclosed. Reuters news agency, citing an unnamed source, estimated the value of the deal at $300 million.

“Our more than 109 million monthly users will have direct access to deeper and richer sports content, and it gives our advertisers a great opportunity to market to a larger, highly targeted audience,” said Stephen Killeen, president of Walthm, Mass.-based Terra Lycos U.S.

Under terms of the deal, FOXSports.com becomes the default sports site in the Lycos Network, with a link from the Lycos.com homepage. The companies will also develop and sell sponsorship packages, subscription services (something Terra Lycos has introduced recently), direct marketing programs and special event promotions.

Exclusive content will come from ex-NFL coach and current Fox commentator John Madden, in-your-face talk show host Jim Rome and NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip, among others.

Users should also expect Fox Sports television network’s shows — including the Super Bowl and World Series, as well as NBA, college basketball, NASCAR and NHL telecasts — highlighted regularly online. Both are owned by media conglomerate News Corp.

“Now we will have the most fully integrated sports broadcast property across national, regional and Internet media, and the combination of FOXSports.com and Terra Lycos provides an integrated marketing tool for advertisers across multiple media channels,” said Ross Levinsohn, an executive with New York-based FOXSports.com.

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