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Data Point: 120%

Challenge

By late 2010, the digital properties of TV sports channel, theScore, had almost 1.5 million monthly users, two of the world’s most popular sports apps for BlackBerry and iPhone — serving up a mobile-optimized player, team, game and event scores, news, betting lines and commentary — and their advertising revenue made up 15% of theScore’s total. In the eyes of John Levy, CEO and largest shareholder of Score Media Inc., theScore’s digital ad sales had the potential to eclipse TV revenue in three to five years.

But Mr. Levy would have to make sure he and his partners positioned the company and its products the best way possible in order to unlock and maximize value.

Revelation

Mr. Levy needed tangible results to justify putting the company’s digital properties front and centre. He found it in theScore App’s rate of user growth and audience makeup in 2010. Specifically, from Sept. 2009 to Sept. 2010, the app’s monthly active user totals jumped 120%, to 1.4 million per month. And most of those were in the U.S. “We saw the numbers coming in quicker than we expected,” says John Levy. “And three for one they’re coming from the States. And it was like: ‘Wow, we’ve really got a tiger by the tail.’”

Strategy

The growth in 2010 validated the product strategy. theScore’s apps were selling themselves in the U.S., without any TV presence. Therefore, the immediate challenge there became a matter of repeating, refining and building out the formula. More features, alerts, tools, commentary, personalization; a new soccer app to test global waters — all of these moves pushed monthly visits past three million.

Progress was bumpier on the company front. Last August minority partner Rogers Media announced it would buy the TV channel but the purchase didn’t include theScore App or thescore.com. Instead, Levy, Rogers and other former Score Media shareholders spun those off into a new company, theScore Inc.

Result

Today, unique monthly visits to theScore’s mobile apps and web are around 4.2-million.

In April, theScore Inc. closed a $16-million financing deal led by Relay Ventures, a mobile-focused venture capital fund based in Toronto and Palo Alto, California. In one swoop, the investment validates the business and the spinoff strategy. John Levy says the first thing they’ll do with the money is expand theScore’s sales and marketing presence in the U.S. “It’s time to get the messaging out.”

financial-post

By Matt Hartley

Original article: http://bit.ly/iIlTI4

Score Media Inc. is taking another step towards becoming a household name for American sports fans.

On Thursday, the Toronto-based media company behind the popular ScoreMobile smartphone application announced it had acquired rival SportsTap, in a deal designed to bolster the company’s position as a leader in sports-focused mobile apps South of the border.

With the addition of SportsTap, Score Media now boasts one of the largest mobile sports networks in North America, with more than 3 million unique monthly users. Both applications offer users access to real time sports statistics and scores from major professional sports leagues.

According to market tracking firm comScore Inc.’s MobiLens March 2011 report, the combined monthly audience of ScoreMobile and SportsTap would rank as the No. 3 sports app audience in the United States, trailing only ESPN and Yahoo Inc.’s properties.

For Score Media, the addition of the SportsTap audience expands the company’s mobile reach at a time when the Toronto-based firm is preparing to ramp up international ad sales. The company already boasts a Canadian-based advertising sales team, and is looking to increase its international ad sales footprint as its user base grows around the world.

In a recent interview with the Financial Post, Score Media chief financial officer Tom Hearne said the company is looking to expand its sales team internationally and expects to begin seeing the financial impact from that expansion beginning in the September quarter.

“ScoreMobile’s acquisition of SportsTap brings together two innovative and popular services and positions us well to deliver even more exciting experiences for sports fans and creative solutions for our advertising partners,”said Benjie Levy, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Score Media.

“This deal further cements our position as a mobile sports leader among the world’s premier sports brands.”

While many Canadians were introduced to Score Media through its television network, The Score, over the past several years, the company has quickly evolved into a leading publisher of sports applications for smartphones and tablets and is garnering an international reputation for its digital products.

Although its television network is rarely seen outside of Canada, 70% of the company’s digital audiences come from international markets.

Score Media’s portfolio of applications — which includes the Score Mobile and soccer-focused Score Mobile FC apps for various platforms as well as the Score Mobile for iPad tablet app — registered 2.4 million unique users in January.

Launched in 2007, SportsTap offers applications for both Apple Inc.’s iOS platform and Google Inc.’s Android software. With SportsTap, Score Media will now have the No. 2 (ScoreMobile) and No. 3 sports-focused applications in the Android marketplace.

According to a statement, Score Media plans to continue to operate SportsTap as a standalone property. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

However, it was unclear if Score Media had purchased only the application SportsTap, or if the company had acquired Mobile1Sports LLC, the company which developed the application.

Officials from Score Media were not immediately available for comment Thursday morning.