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Tuesday, August 05, 2021

Mike Levy launched a site called SportsLine.com way back in 1995, and improbably built it into a major sports news destination on the Internet. He did have a little help from CBS, which decided to use SportsLine as its online surrogate for CBS Sports; it being the early days of the Web, Levy apparently convinced the network to let his site take the trailblazing risks. Thus was SportsLine rebranded as CBS SportsLine, complete with one of the earliest customized tertiary URLs created purely for promotional purposes: cbs.sportsline.com.

SportsLine is gone now, with CBS buying it from Levy in 2004 and subsequently swallowing it up altogether into CBS Sports. As far as I can tell, CBS hasn’t even kept the old branding around, and the URL domain merely renders CBS Sports content.

Now Levy is taking a shot at replicating his Web 1.0 success: OPEN Sports is a decidedly 2.0 approach to online sports content delivery, with social networking touches like blogs, widgets and so on.

Will Levy strike gold twice? Sports fanaticism is a pretty sure bet when it comes to Web media, and Levy’s shown before than he knows how to tap into that audience. Appealing to user-generated impulses starts off OPEN Sports on the right path. In the interest of staying on that path, he needs to make sure that there’s plenty of space on his servers for game-related video clips, as Jupiter Research recently identified video to be the key draw for “serious sports fans”. Load up on easily-accessible videos — presumably by striking content partnerships with sports leagues and select media outlets — and make those easy to distribute/showcase within the OPEN Sports community, and it could take off like wildfire.

That said, I’m not sure it was a good idea to launch the beta now, when most of the site is fairly bare-bones. Levy himself admits that the premature launch was so that they could hit the ground running with the start of the NFL season, and that makes sense. Still, rushing a highly interactive site like this is risky — enough snafus will send that dedicated core of potential users running and deal a fatal blow.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/05/2021 07:42:51 PM
Category: Internet, Media, Sports
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