Online High School Sports Market Exploding!

Online High School Sports Market Exploding!

Gary Bourgeault 
August 20, 2007

 The entrance of three media companies into the high school sports category last week shows the desire by advertisers to reach this highly desirable market. The major reason it’s so sought after is its draw of multiple demographics.

Last week Emmis Communictions, Hearst-Argyle and Belo Corp. launched web-based initiatives targeting high school sports.

“High school sports is an untapped area,” said Chris Campbell, director of interactive media for Emmis and managing director of IHSAAsports.org. “We’ve found an overwhelmingly positive reaction from advertisers who are hungry to reach the multiple demographics that high school sports attract.”

With athletes and students wanting to watch themselves and
classmates, parents eager to view their progeny, and coaches and
recruiters lining up to view upcoming stars, it’s a marketers  dream to
find a receptive, active audience across generations.

As
potentially lucrative as this market is, we are just at the beginning
of the pheonomenon. It should continue growing, as a recent study by
SmithGeiger of teens showed that almost 60 percent would be interested
in a high school Web site focused solely on sports. 

high school sports becoming big online business-thumb.jpg

We’ll probably hear an increasing number of deals over the next
year in this area. Already there have been a number of big deals made
throughout the last several months as CBS (CBS-A) acquired Maxpreps.com
for $43 million, while Yahoo (YHOO) reportedly paid about $100 million
for Rivals.com, which along with college sports, is moving into the
high school sports field as well. Not to be outdone, Time’s Sports
Illustrated bought a big stake in Takkle.com also.

If you’re
interested in this specific market, it would be a great time to tap
into it. The opportunities and interest is there in a big way now, and
local providers should be able to compete with larger companies who are
spreading themselves across numerous local markets.

The key will be providing wider and deeper coverage than the big companies.

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