SEATTLE – October 11, 2004 – Scout.com is the new name for the Web's largest independent sports network, known until today as TheInsiders.com, which provides sports fans of all interests with a one-stop destination for detailed sports information, analysis, in-depth features and interactivity.
CEO Jim Heckman, who founded TheInsiders in June 2001 and also founded the original Rivals.com in 1998, decided that Scout.com reflected the unique "first-person perspective" for the network of 175 online publishers who cover sports, including college football and basketball, NFL and MLB. The network is especially well-known for accurate and timely college football and basketball recruiting information. Scout.com also is the largest team sports print publisher in the nation with 38 team-specific magazines.
"Scout.com is simple, bold and describes exactly what we do as an online sports network," Heckman said. "We started using ‘Scout' in some features when we launched the network, so this process actually began some time ago. We looked at why a ‘scout' is used: to produce specific, often difficult-to-acquire information through observation and analysis. Our company has a virtual army of Scouts across the nation focused solely on obtaining, documenting and analyzing proprietary sports information that is unique to our business. The success of our Scout team is clearly demonstrated in the growing number of subscribers and people who visit our network. But if you ask the fans, they'll tell you they love us because our Scouts are special experts in college football and basketball recruiting."
Scout.com also announces today their sponsorship of the prestigious U.S. Army
All-American Bowl, played in San Antonio, Tex., at the Alamodome on Jan. 15, 2005, and broadcast nationally on NBC. The sponsorship, which extends through 2012, includes signage, in-game TV media, brand recognition and participation in all the events leading up to the game. Scout.com is the game's exclusive selection partner, with its National Recruiting Analysts Tom Lemming (also of ESPN.com), Jamie Newberg and Allen Wallace (SuperPrep) leveraging Scout.com's entire team of nationwide scouts to assist in the selection process. Scout.com also is the exclusive online sports network partner for the Bowl. Scout.com experts will aid in selecting The Ball Bark National Player of Year, the high school version of the college Heisman Trophy, awarded to the nation's top prep football player during Bowl week. Past winners include Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson and Florida quarterback Chris Leak. The multi-year contract also will enable Scout.com to offer exclusive video and interviews.
During Bowl week, Scout.com experts also will cover and participate in the U.S. Army National Combine Presented by Reebok, a premier prep event, which invites the nation's top 400 underclassmen to San Antonio. Scout.com experts will be the official selection partners for the Combine.
"Our network has dominated the college football recruiting industry since our team invented the nation-wide recruiting database in 1998," Heckman said. "The database is the central tool for our Scout network in providing customers instant information on their team's top prospects. We've turned college football recruiting from a cult-following served by ‘one-man hobbyists', to a significant year-long, main-stream news category. It's not an exaggeration to say we've revolutionized media coverage of college football and basketball recruiting. Today we're a one-stop sports information network, and were very excited to help celebrate our name change by being involved in what is being called ‘The Super Bowl of High School Football.' "
Adrian Peterson commits
to Oklahoma during the
2003 All-American Bowl
Jamie Newberg, Scout.com's National Recruiting Analyst, said, "Our association with the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and the Combine is huge. We will have exclusive access to the top prospects, not only for this year, but for future years, taking our evaluation and coverage of recruiting to a whole, other level. For us as evaluators and analysts, this is a great opportunity and should be an exciting development for our fans. We are going to be all over this."
Heckman said that banding back together the original founders of Rivals.com is what will help propel Scout.com as the unquestioned leader in the coverage of team sports and college football and basketball recruiting. Scout.com also features the relevant founders and senior leaders from the original Rivals.com and TheInsiders.com, including: co-founder/CTO Bill Sornsin; EVP of Corporate and Business Development Patrick Crumb (now President/General Counsel); the original product manager, Keith Haynes; CFO Karen Northup; and Glenn Nelson, Editor-in-Chief, who was a national-award winning sportswriter and columnist for the Seattle Times. Scout.com's largest investor is former college and NFL great, Bernie Kosar. Brian Kosar serves as Chairman of its board and also runs the company's print division. The Kosar brothers have been instrumental in the founding and growth of the Company. Scout.com also is announcing that another former senior executive from the original Rivals.com, Peter Gruman, has recently left RealNetworks to join the management team of Scout.com as Executive Vice President and General Manager of its online operations. After Rivals.com, Gruman ran RealNetwork's online subscription sports properties, and worked with partners such as the NBA, NFL, MLB, PGA Tour, NASCAR, CSTV, Sporting News Radio, and FoxSports.
The original Seattle-based Rivals.com closed in April, of 2001 and many of the executives, branding right and technologies took different paths. Following the close of Rival Networks/Rivals.com, a different online service, Alliance Sports (of Tennessee), purchased the Rivals.com name and domain out of liquidation and re-branded their business with the purchased Rivals name in May of 2001 and has since been in operation as the "new" Rivals.com. A few months later, Heckman and the key Rivals.com founders and senior management founded TheInsiders.com and, in a few short years, have built it into the No. 1 independent sports network. Armed with exclusive content partnership deals with Yahoo! Sports, FOX Sports, Sports Illustrated (SI.com) and CBS SportsLine, Heckman decided to create a new name and look for the online sports network that would be easily recognizable – Scout.com. In 2002, Heckman and his team also extended the model to magazines, and now own and publish 38 monthly gloss magazines covering college and professional team sports in depth, through a subsidiary, Citadel Publishing.
Heckman additionally points to recent success that the Scout.com brand name will be able to build upon:
- September Nielson Net Ratings report confirms TheInsiders.com (now Scout.com) had more than 1.75 million unique monthly visitors, which is 1 million more than the "new" Rivals.com.
- A $1 million milestone was recently achieved in August when TheInsiders.com (now Scout.com) billed more than that figure in subscription sales in a single month. Scout.com is on track to hit $10 million mark for sales in 2004. The September report for recurring subscriber numbers (aggregate annuity) indicates another $1 million month for September.
Scout.com is the No. 1 independent sports network on the Internet. Scout has more than 1.77 million audited monthly unique users (Nielsen Net Ratings) and reaches more than 38 million users each month through syndication agreements with FOXSports.com, SportsIllustrated.com, SportsLine.com and Yahoo! Sports. Scout syndicates more than 1,000 pieces of content daily to these syndication partners, has secured more than 140,000 current, paid subscribers and publishes, via Citadel Publishing, 38 college, NFL and MLB glossy team magazines. Scout.com and Citadel Publishing are wholly owned and operated by Seattle-based, Citadel Media, Inc.