SEATTLE – Citadel Media, which owns and operates TheInsiders.com and Citadel Publishing, has acquired First Down Publications, Inc., which includes the top publication covering Oklahoma University athletics and the only magazine covering Oklahoma State sports.
Citadel will merge the 10,000-circulation Sooners Illustrated with its already popular Inside OU Sports magazine and add the O-State magazine from First Down to swell its number of college, NFL and MLB team magazines to 36. Citadel now is the largest publisher of college team magazines and has the largest reach of any independent sports online network.
The seven-figure purchase also brings more than 12,000 additional subscriptions and several hundred thousand new annual advertising dollars to TheInsiders.com, and will eliminate the company's only print competitor in the large Oklahoma University market.
The acquisition of Sooners Illustrated and O-State magazines from First Down creates a regional online-print market advantage in the Big 12 Conference similar to those that TheInsiders.com already held in the Southeast and Pac-10. Citadel previously purchased four Big 12 publications from First Down – Purple Pride magazine (covering Kansas State), Jayhawk Insider (Kansas), Inside Mizzou (Missouri) and Buffalo Sports Report (Colorado) – and paired them with corresponding TheInsiders.com team sites. Cyclone Nation (Iowa State) and Inside Texas (University of Texas) are other Big 12 magazines owned by Citadel.
"TheInsiders has the complete package and is the information source in the Big 12 region," said Roscoe Migliore, the now-former president of First Down, "and it looks like they're close to cornering the rest of the nation, when it comes to college sports publishing, both online and print. TheInsiders has the infrastructure and resources to give fans the ultimate website-print bundle and they are definitely delivering a quality product. I'm very excited to pass on what we've built in the Big 12 because it will be exciting to watch our publications, great editors and corresponding websites become part of the great sports publishing revolution that has been started by TheInsiders."
J.C. Heckman, the CEO of TheInsiders, said, "The acquisition of First down was an incredible opportunity for us that began last year with a series of asset purchases. We already produce or partner with 100 percent of the Pac-10-related publications and recently completed a virtual roll-up of the southeast region of the country. The First Down agreements allowed us to tie up the key Big 12 content partners quickly and efficiently. Roscoe Migliore is a great entrepreneur that I've known for many years; he built a great company in his region and I'm excited that he trusts us to complete the growth of his vision and also that he's decided to stay on with us to help grow his impressive advertising revenues.
"Our magazine acquisitions are all about creating a better value proposition for our affiliate publishers, so they can then create an unbeatable product and superior value for our customers. It's clear that if you want access to athletic departments and events, to create proprietary and valuable information, the schools want to know you have a top-level journalist with offline editorial skills. By offering a total media package at each school, the business opportunity is now big enough to recruit and keep the best reporters in each market. It's all part of a puzzle that was difficult to build, but simple for fans to understand: TheInsiders offers the best daily event-driven content online and the best team-specific features available in a monthly, color gloss magazine. This strategy has been the key to building and extending our significant lead in the marketplace."
TheInsiders.com is the internet's largest independent sports network. TheInsiders has more than 1.7 million audited monthly unique users (Nielsen Net Ratings) and reaches an additional 20-25 million users each month through syndication agreements with FOXSports.com, SportsIllustrated.com, SportsLine.com and Yahoo! Sports. TheInsiders daily syndicates more than 1,000 pieces of content to these syndication partners, has secured more than 135,000 paid subscriptions and publishes, via Citadel Publishing, 38 college, NFL and MLB glossy team magazines. TheInsiders.com and Citadel Publishing are wholly owned and operated by Seattle-based, Citadel Media, Inc.
Citadel, TheInsiders Acquire First Down
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