The company declined to disclose details of the deal, but issued a statement confirming it was in talks with the leading search engine about “a commercial arrangement regarding the distribution of content”.
Sports Internet runs around 20 co-branded sites for UK football clubs through its PlanetFootball network, which attracted 840,000 users and generated approximately 16m page impressions for July (last figures issued). Following its acquisition of Opta, the provider of official football statistics, SIG also created a generic football site called OptaSoccer, which is believed to be at the centre of the deal.
With the Yahoo distribution deal in place, Sports Internet Group looks set to become a serious threat to UK competition such as Soccernet and Football365 as it attracts more overseas visitors. In the UK alone, Yahoo has an audience reach of 33.4%, with more than 2,608 unique visitors a month (Media Metrix).
And with plans to provide an intergrated betting service to its users, SIG can look forward to, at least, a small chunk of the what is expected to be a lucrative online betting market. In the UK alone, competition has been hotting up, with the likes of Ladbrokes, William Hill and Tote all offering internet services, although many are taking their outfits offshore to avoid the government’s compulsary betting tax.
A spokesperson for Sports Internet Group said a more detailed statement would be issued once the discussions between Yahoo and itself were concluded.