AOL Launches Sports Blog Network

Posted on August 29, 2006

AOL is launching a network of sports blogs despite the fact that sports doesn't have any endemic advertisers. AOL sports blogs will start with a football sports network called Fanhouse. Fanhouse includes a blog for each of the 32 NFL football teams. MediaPost reports that AOL is paying bloggers for each post they make. The new blogs are not linked with the Weblogs, Inc. blogs that AOL also owns.

The first set of blogs--which quietly rolled out last week--are devoted to the NFL, with AOL Sports now hosting one blog for each of the 32 professional NFL teams as well as a handful of other blogs devoted to subjects like fantasy football. The new blog section, dubbed "Fanhouse," will soon add more than 40 additional blogs devoted to college football. AOL is paying all of the new bloggers for each entry they write.

The goal, says Neal Scarbrough, General Manager of AOL Sports, is to increase the amount of time users spend on AOL's sports section. "AOL wants to crank up our sports coverage as a whole," he said, adding that the company specifically wants to boost user engagement.

AOL will promote the blogs through partnerships with other online sites, including fellow Time Warner property Web site of Sports Illustrated magazine.

MediaPost also says AOL plans to allow video uploads from users on the blogs. AOL is also planning similar networks for the basketball season. The AOL blogs will be new competition for sports blog networks like Sports Cartel and SportsBlogs Nation.

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