Yahoo! Deal Prompts Another Defection

SEATTLE -, a top Web site covering Duke University sports, turned five years old on Feb. 15 and publisher John Watson received the sweetest birthday gift imaginable. <br><br> finalized its major marketing and syndication deal with Yahoo! that day. The next day, Watson signed an agreement to join The agreement, announced today by, will be implemented when Watson's contract with Alliance Sports expires. <br><br>

"I met with Yahoo! sports executives," Watson said. "I have to say it was very exciting to hear what they had in store for TheInsiders and their publishers. I signed a contract with the Insiders the day after it was confirmed that (CEO) Jim Heckman had signed final documents with Yahoo!

"Yahoo! was incredibly impressive. They're obviously a very powerful media entity who will be a huge benefit to TheInsiders. Obviously no one can match their resources, tools, and marketing ability. I was blown away by what I heard and saw out there. I'm also excited that the deal does not effect the publishers' revenue split with TheInsiders at all."

The addition of Watson will give coverage befitting the No. 1 basketball school in the country. Watson, whose coverage of Duke basketball includes his popular player ratings, will combine at with, the largest unofficial site covering Blue Devil hoops.

"We look forward to teaming up with John Watson," said Mike Hemmerich, publisher of "Adding his experience and creativity to our large community should create one of the biggest and best fan sites on the Internet."

The Duke super-site gives an unmatched basketball lineup, according to Heckman, the network's co-founder. already boasts of Dave Telep's recruiting expertise in the East, Tracy Pierson's in the West, renowned expert Chris Monter on the national scene, the largest online basketball community in ACCBoards, and sites such as (Alabama), (Arizona), (Gonzaga), (North Carolina), (Oklahoma) and (UCLA) that perennially offer top-notch basketball coverage.

"We're excited to add John because he fills one of about a dozen holes where we felt our competitor's sites could help us," Heckman said. "Our network needs only a few more pieces to complete the whole puzzle. The puzzle looks great the way it is right now."

Watson says he could not agree more, and is itching to get started at

"With basketball being the top priority at The Devil's Den and of course Duke Basketball Report, it made sense to partner with, which sports some of the top basketball minds on the Net such as Dave Telep and Chris Monter, as well as some of the top basketball sites such as Inside Carolina," Watson said. "The prospect of partnering with a media giant such as Yahoo! as well as partnering with a great site such as Duke Basketball Report was too tempting to pass up. Once I saw what Yahoo would bring to TheInsiders as a network and to each site, it was a non-issue when it came to my site's future."

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