AOL Folds Fanhouse Brand Into Sporting News

AOL announced today it is folding Fanhouse into Sporting News, with the latter now to serve as AOL’s sports content portal.

Kentucky Sports Fan House

(No, not that Fanhouse)

Sporting News on AOL will launch in two months.

Sporting News President and Publisher Jeff Price: “We’ve made a lot of headway as far as adding video and developing a social media strategy. Adding scale was the last thing advertisers were asking for, and this deal allows us to deliver that.

In other words, Sporting News did the deal to gain more traffic via the AOL web portal.

Terry Lefton of SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY reports today that the Fanhouse brand, which relaunched under Editor-In-Chief Scott Ridge two years ago as AOL’s in-house sports content provider, will be included in the Sporting News AOL site as a destination for opinion pieces.

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said today of the status of AOL Fanhouse writers: We are going to be working with AOL employees on Fanhouse, you have my personal word on that. The focus on Fanhouse … Fanhouse is not going away. Brand and bunch of staffing will be staying around.”

Armstrong did not say whether that “bunch of staffing” will include prominent, full-time AOL Fanhouse contributors.

A current Fanhouse writer told me today that March was the target date for staffing changes to take effect. From same source: “Nobody’s been officially fired, but it appears Sporting News doesn’t plan on hiring many Fanhouse folks.”

Simple deal. Sporting News upgrades AOL sports brand and increases traffic. AOL cuts costs.

Once upon a time, Fanhouse was the premier destination for bloggers - with Jamie Mottram the mastermind behind the operation and talent procurement. Mottram has since moved on to Yahoo where he has similarly spawned not only the best collection of sports blogs on the web, but Yahoo’s entire blog editorial operation.

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