SPORTSLINE AND USA PURCHASE MVP ASSETS
Byline: Katherine Bowers
LOS ANGELES — Despite the marketing might of megastars like Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky, embattled sports e-tailer MVP.com has folded, and content provider SportsLine.com, in conjunction with Barry Diller’s USA Networks, is scooping up some MVP assets.
SportsLine.com said in separate announcements Monday that it has cut a multiyear e-commerce services deal with USA Networks Inc. and has acquired crucial assets of MVP.com, including the flagship domain name and several other URLs. The transaction marks USA Networks’ second sports-flavored, e-commerce pact since it said on Jan. 10 that it will build and support a retooled e-shop on NASCAR.com.
According to a spokeswoman for MVP.com, USA Networks, based here, will assume operation of the e-tail site, and the 43-person staff of the Chicago-based dot-com will be laid off once the transition is complete. MVP had also run the e-shop at CBS-owned SportsLine.com, but the 10-year deal sealing that arrangement was terminated in November, when MVP failed to make a $5 million payment to SportsLine, as noted in WWD.
Now, USA Network’s e-commerce solutions division and its majority-owned subsidiary, Styleclick Inc., is stepping in to build and run the SportsLine e-shop. A USA Networks spokeswoman said the company will review the assortment carried by the e-shop, which now sells officially licensed sports merchandise and memorabilia, but she did not project what changes would be made.
The shop at SportsLine.com is slated to be relaunched this spring and will be promoted on various USA Network Web sites, including Ticketmaster.com and Citysearch.com.
MVP.com stumbled during challenging market conditions, the Web site’s spokeswoman acknowledged. “We did a lot of things right and we built a great brand that we’ve been able to sell,” she said, while acknowledging that “we were unable to raise sufficient funds to continue operation.”