Kentucky Sports Report (KSR) was the top website in the now-defunct RivalNetworks, according to J.C. Heckman, founder of that network, as well as Scout.com, and has continued to dominate the passionate Kentucky market.
KSR is one of more than 30 top site publishers or lead editors who have left Scout.com’s competition to join the network, Heckman said. The migration has helped Scout.com build nearly double the reach of its competition, according to Nielsen NetRatings.
The signing also bolsters Scout.com’s status as the clear-cut industry leader in the production of inside college-basketball team and recruiting information and evaluation, Heckman said. Dave Telep, Scout’s national basketball recruiting analyst, leads an industry-standard team that includes Mike Sullivan, the former national editor with Scout’s competitor, as well as Tracy Pierson and Greg Hicks, formerly of Prep West Hoops, and Jeff Goodman, former Prepstar analyst and contributor to USA Today and the Washington Post.
"Anyone who religiously follows recruiting knows that Scout.com is the place on the Internet for basketball recruiting information,” Telep said. “The addition of Kentucky Sports Report and Steve John to our network is a big step toward widening our substantial lead in basketball coverage and recruiting information. The Kentucky Sports Report staff and community are known throughout the sports world for their knowledge and support of college basketball in general, and the Wildcats in particular. That kind of firepower behind one of the sport’s most storied programs is going to be powerful for the Scout.com network..”
Heckman, CEO of Scout Media, Inc., pointed out that Kentucky Sports Report’s is the second major “defection” in less than 30 days. “Last month, our competition lost the top editor from its Penn State site, Mark Brennan,” Heckman said. “This resulted in an immediate rush of new sales for us and our Penn State site now is one of our top five sellers. The KSR signing is incredibly exciting to me because we’ve got my old No. 1 site back and highlights the fact that Scout.com has taken back nearly all of our top sites. I finally feel that I’ve got my old network back, but now in a much more successful situation. I’m also especially grateful to my good friend Steve John, co-founder of KSR, for returning to the original founders. The key to our success is to ensure we have the most trusted, credentialed and experienced journalist for every team and then distribute that proprietary content to the 36 million sports fans we reach through our strategic partners.”
Steve John, KSR's publisher, was excited as well: “Scout offers several things Rivals simply could not deliver for Kentucky fans,” John said. “One, all the top basketball scouts are with Scout.com, including Dave Telep, Mike Sullivan, Tracy Pierson and Greg Hicks. Two, Scout.com’s reach is far broader than the competition. Kentucky has a huge nationwide fan base and Scout has the best tools to reach all of them. Three, Scout simply has a better product offering for our needs. Scout’s model of producing a monthly gloss feature magazine, combined with the best recruiting and inside information on a daily basis through the website, is the perfect combination for hard-core UK fans. With Scott Kennedy, Dave Telep and Mike Sullivan I have the very best national team for basketball and recruiting information. With Larry Vaught and Jim Tirey we have added to our team two of the most recognizable names in the Kentucky sports media. I spoke with several other former Rivals’ publishers who have switched to this new model and their subscribers have been delighted. We are going to be able to offer our subscribers a robust combination of information and community interaction."
Kentucky Sports Report, founded as Wildcatchat in 1996, brings two significant staff members in Jim Tirey and Larry Vaught. Tirey is a radio announcer for WLAP radio in Lexington and is one of the most popular talk show hosts in Kentucky. Vaught is the sports editor for the Danville Advocate Messenger and has been perhaps the most recognizeable sports journalist in Kentucky for more than 28 years.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to join this awesome team," Tirey said. "I have known and worked with Larry Vaught for many years and there simply is no finer sportswriter in the state of Kentucky. I have had Steve John as a guest on WLAP radio several times and have wanted to work with him for some time. Steve is a guy who runs a quality site that all Kentucky fans can be proud of. Kentucky Sports Report has always been the preeminent site for Kentucky sports coverage. I have long believed Dave Telep and Mike Sullivan were the finest recruiting analysts in the nation. Joining this team is a real honor for me. With this team in place at Kentucky Sports Report, I believe that Wildcats fans are in for a real treat.”
Vaught said, "Kentucky Sports Report has become a site I rely on not only for information, but also to see how the true Kentucky fans feel about the Wildcats. I've loved my association with Steve John and Kentucky Sports Report and now I'm even more excited about our new venture and joining with such highly-regarded analysts as Dave Telep and Mike Sullivan. I also think having a chance to work even more closely with Jim Tirey is a special opportunity because I know how hard Jim works and how passionate he is because of our radio work together. I think we have a team that will inform and entertain Kentucky fans a product they will have to have."
According to the most recent Nielson ratings, Scout’s online property, Scout.com, has grown to reach more then 2.14 million unique users. Scout content reaches an additional 35 million fans through syndication partnerships with Yahoo! Sports, SportsIllustrated.com, SportsLine and FOX Sports. Revenues have grown at an annual rate of 70 percent annually since the company was established in 2001.
About Scout Media, Inc.
Scout Media, Inc. is a network of sports media properties operated under one brand. Scout.com is the No. 1 independent online sports network and the top team magazine publisher in the United States. Scout.com is an integrated sports publishing company consisting of two separate divisions that work closely together to deliver a unique and highly integrated Internet and print product offering. The Internet publishing division consists of a network of more than 200 websites that publish inside and exclusive content focusing on college and high school, as well as NFL, MLB, and other professional team sports. The company’s print publishing division produces 40 of the most widely read independent college and professional team-focused, high-quality glossy magazines in the country. Scout content reaches more than 2.14 million people directly and another 35 million through syndication each month (1,100 pieces of content syndicated daily), making Scout the most read independent sports publisher in the country.