Back in 2012, NBC Sports and Yahoo! Sports were both trailing ESPN significantly in terms of reach. So, they decided if they couldn’t beat’m, they’d join forces to do so.
The partnership, which included shared content, video and other online experiences, paid off. Yahoo!/NBC leapfrogged ESPN in the February 2014 comScore sports website rankings (thanks in large part to Olympics coverage). They not only outranked ESPN by 13% in unique visitors but also 20% in minutes consumed. Since then, however, ESPN has regained it’s foothold atop the rankings, though Yahoo!/NBC remains a solid second-place finisher.
Since it doesn’t seem to be broken, the two entities decided not to fix anything and they’ve re-upped. They announced a renewal of their multi-faceted partnership on Monday with plans to expand it. This expanded partnership is expected to include shared usage and promotion of Premier League highlights, NBC Sports Regional Network team reports, and Golf Channel content, amongst other things.
Yahoo! will continue to receive shared access to NBC Sports’ Sunday Night Football, NHL, Notre Dame Football, NASCAR, Premier League, PGA TOUR and LPGA. They’ll also get content courtesy of Rotoworld and Golf Channel to augment their own offerings in fantasy sports and golf, respectively.
NBC Sports will also offer regional coverage and daily reports in major markets such as Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Portland and the San Francisco Bay Area.
On the flip side, Yahoo!’s Fantasy Football Live will continue to air on Tuesday and Thursdays on NBCSN while NBC promotes Yahoo!’s fantasy sports games.
The alliance saw its comScore numbers slip between September and November but they still maintain a solidified front to ESPN’s dominance. While Fox Sports and Bleacher Report/Turner rise and fall a bit more predictably, Yahoo!/NBC joins ESPN as the two major constants above everyone else in sports digital reach and it sounds like they intend to keep it that way.