News takes stake in sports site

NEWS Digital Media has acquired a minority stake in SportingPulse (ANZ), Australia’s largest grassroots sports network.

SportingPulse attracts more than one million monthly unique browsers during the peak winter sporting season.

It provides more than 50 sports with the IT tools to manage their organisations and competitions, publish websites, communicate with participants and raise revenue. The company has business relationships with and direct access to:

• 25 national governing bodies, including the Australian Football League, Australian Rugby League, Basketball Australia, Touch Football Australia, Hockey Australia, Lawn Bowls Australia, Football NSW, Football New Zealand and The Oceania National Olympic Committee
• 3700+ leagues
• 28,000+ clubs
• 180,000+ teams
• Two million sports participants

News Digital Media chief executive Richard Freudenstein said: “In less than a decade SportingPulse has established itself as Australia’s pre-eminent online network for grassroots sports.

“With the company now evolving from a software business into a fully fledged digital platform, it presents an ideal strategic investment opportunity for News Digital Media.

“We see great synergies between SportingPulse and News Limited’s metro, regional and community newspapers, which both have remarkable connections with communities across Australia. We will work closely with SportingPulse to ascertain the best way to leverage our expertise and print and online properties to help the site grow its traffic, reach and revenue.”

SportingPulse’s chief executive, Nick Maywald, said the deal would have a “huge impact on our business”.

News’s sales team will sell display advertising across the SportingPulse network.

Mr Freudenstein said that SportingPulse would prove a valuable addition to News Digital Media’s market offering.

News Digital Media’s stake complements the AFL’s minority interest in Sporting Pulse, secured in 2008.

The AFL’s chief operating officer Gillon McLachlan said “This is a great result for Australian football’s grass roots community, which last year exceeded 690,000 in players alone.”

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