Yahoo this morning launched the new websites for Eurosport, Europe’s largest cable and satellite TV sports network, under a joint venture announced back in February. The pair set out to create a “powerhouse” with the intention of serving sports fans across the continent, and make no mistake – whilst financials are unavailable, this is a big deal. Eurosport, which has immense depth through availability in 54 countries and in 20 languages, previously operated its own online properties; today’s launch means it has essentially transferred its online distribution to Yahoo.
The tension has become evident on the new Eurosport UK site, where some old skool users called for the old site‘s return after being told their message board archives would be killed in the migration to Yahoo Message Boards. Feedback today is almost universally negative, citing a reduction or loss of previous coverage options, like Romanian snooker. For its part, Yahoo, which has rebranded its European sport sections to add the Eurosport logo, gets to include a feed from its Answers Q&A service, feature its ad network and gain a load of new account holders. It also gains live audio and copious video clips from Eurosport’s mainstay broadcast news operations. The venture is clearly intended to leverage Yahoo’s greater experience in the online advertising space; it will give advertisers the opportunity to place ads in video clips and the pair aim to rank in the top three slots in each launch country’s comScore metrics by year’s end.
Sites migrated so far include those for the UK, Italy, Spain, Germany and rest of the world. Speaking to paidContent, a Eurosport spokesman acknowledged the switchover would have come as a visual shock to long-term eurosport.com users but said new Web 2.0 features, including a Flickr tie-up, were due to be rolled out by August. He stressed the deal is a partnership, with Eurosport retaining its editorial functions for the sites; the site today included some reports from news agencies.