Jim Heckman and Ross Levinsohn
SEATTLE, Aug. 4, 2005 - Scout Media, Inc., the parent company of Scout.com, the country’s No. 1 independent online sports network, and Scout Publishing, producer of 47 of the most widely read local sports magazines in the U.S. today announced that Fox Interactive Media has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Scout and its assets.
The deal will bring users video, stats, Associated Press game stories and other content from FoxSports.com, proprietary FOX team-specific video for Scout.com subscribers, and increased visibility of Scout experts and publishers on Fox Sports Television and Radio, among other major benefits.
“Fox is a dream partner for our network of team sites and publications because of its dominance in team broadcast rights,” said Jim Heckman, Scout founder and CEO. “When you consider Fox’s massive online reach, proprietary video infrastructure and the power of the worldwide brand, I couldn’t imagine a better combined product for sports fans. I think it will immediately revolutionize the online sports industry.”
The addition of Scout.com gives Fox Interactive Media (FIM) one of the web’s stickiest sites with a loyal user base of more than two million unique users. Fox is already a leader in the world of sports coverage with the national broadcast programming of FOX Sports and the regional and national programming of Fox Sports Net’s 20 regional sports networks, as well as cable channels SPEED, Fox College Sports and Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports Radio and the highly trafficked FOXSports.com. FOXSports.com, which is now operated by FIM, has become one of the top three sports websites in the country since its launch a year ago as the primary sports destination on the MSN network with 11.2 million unique visitors per month.
The acquisition of Scout Media is the second by FIM since its formation in July, when it announced a deal to acquire Intermix media, which operates MySpace.com, the world’s fastest-growing social networking portal with more than 28 million monthly users and nearly eight billion page views.
“The addition of Scout Media will give Fox the ability to provide the deepest, most sweeping sports coverage on the web. It will also bring extensive print reach and a direct connection to the extremely loyal subscriber base that has contributed to Scout’s impressive growth,” said FIM President Ross Levinsohn. “With its insider, fan-based focus, Scout.com is an ideal complement to FOXSports.com’s dedication to national coverage and is a perfect fit with our broadcast and cable properties on the local and national level. Moreover, Scout has a great management team and premier local publishers and we’re excited to start working with them on cross-promotion and content sharing with all our Fox Sports properties.”
Launched in 2001 and backed by former NFL quarterback Bernie Kosar and his brother Brian, and their investment company, Kosar Investments LLC, Scout Media's network of more than 200 local, team-focused websites and 47 publications deliver exclusive content focusing on professional, college and high school team sports from some of the most seasoned sports reporters in the country. With a subscription base of over 200,000 and a total of 2.4 million unique visitors per month, Scout has quickly become the leader in independent online sports news. It’s also earned a reputation as the most trusted source of college and professional sports recruiting and scouting coverage on the Internet, producing more than 1000 player and team content pieces each day, regardless of season.
"Scout Media came out of nowhere to become one of the largest independent sports sites on the Internet," said Brian Kosar, Scout chairman. "We take great pride in helping build this great company from the ground up. We believe Fox has a terrific game plan to take this company to the next level."
Scout.com’s subscriber growth has been driven by unique proprietary offerings not available on any other network, including extensive recruiting and player databases that allow fans to track their favorite team or favorite player over their entire career. Sports fans can have news delivered each day to their desk tops about their favorite players, regardless of league or team – all the way down to the high school level. No sports network offers more content, more reporters and more custom, fan-requested content than Scout.com.
Heckman, Kosar and President and Director Patrick Crumb will continue their roles following the completion of the acquisition. Perseus Group acted as Scout Media’s financial advisor on the transaction with FIM.
"What pleases us most is that the vision we created for Scout Media has been validated by the most respected and powerful media company in the world," Heckman added. "We're confident our management team and our publishers can look forward to even greater successes for years to come as a result of this deal."