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Monday, February 25, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Seattle sports network to join Yahoo!'s lineup

Seattle Times technology reporter

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Seattle-based TheInsiders.com, which charges users a monthly fee for specialized content about National Football League, college and high-school teams, said Yahoo! would carry its subscription service on Yahoo's sports site.

Financial terms of the revenue-sharing agreement were not disclosed.

Under the deal, Yahoo! Sports would promote and market TheInsiders.com's network of Web sites to its roughly 6 million monthly unique visitors, as well as other parts of the sprawling Internet portal.

TheInsiders.com network includes more than 100 Web sites focused mostly on specific college sports teams and recruiting information on high-school sports players.

Chief Executive Jim Heckman, who founded high-profile sports network Rivals.com, said the former start-up also partnered with Yahoo!

Under that deal, however, it gave the Internet portal content in return for access to a larger audience. No money was involved.

After the Internet advertising market bottomed out, most content sites attempted to replace that revenue by charging users for access to specialized content. Yahoo!, for instance, charges users a fee for access to services such as real-time stock quotes, analysts reports, extra e-mail-storage space and fantasy sports games.

Heckman said his company would split subscription revenue with Yahoo! The subscription packages range from $5.95 per month to $119 per year.

"You can't raise $50 million anymore and blanket the world (with advertising)," he said.

"We needed a partner to let us reach the biggest audience in the Internet world and Yahoo! delivers that for us."

Jupiter Media Metrix ranked Yahoo! as the third most-visited set of Web sites in December, with 71.5 million unique visitors. Of those, roughly 5.7 million users visited Yahoo! Sports.

Yahoo! Sports has similar deals with the National Basketball Association's Audio League Pass and The Sporting News.

Monica Soto may be reached at 206-515-5632 or msoto@seattletimes.com.

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