SI.com, the Internet arm of Sports Illustrated, last week became the latest of a number of publishers trying to reach young readers through a MySpace-like community forum effort. “We already have a number of blogs that allow users to engage and we have comment areas where they can react to stories and polls, but this is our first true social networking partnership and indicative of the type of strategy we’re looking to take in the future,” Jeff Price, SI digital president, said.
In addition to SI.com, several publishers have started using the social networking model, popularized by MySpace, on their Web sites. In September, Stack, a magazine dedicated to teen athletes, launched MyStack, a site it describes as “MySpace meets YouTube,” that allows high school athletes to not only communicate with friends, but create an online resume for recruiters and college coaches, including highlight footage. Similarly, Ellegirl.com this year launched EllegirlCommunity and Filter magazine partners directly with MySpace.
SI.com plans to bring its Face In the Crowd franchise – featured in the magazine for 50 years – to Takkle.com. The feature will allow athletes, coaches, athletic directors, and fans to log onto TAKKLE to nominate athletes for Faces in the Crowd and will feature a brand new Video Faces In the Crowd.
In addition to engaging readers, SI’s partnership with Takkle also will allow more opportunity for advertisers, Price said. “We have two specific sponsorship opportunities, we’re looking at – one with Faces in the Crowd, which will feature a photo contest we plan to bring sponsors into,” he said. And, we have a long-term partnership with Takkle itself that allows us to build equity within that relationship.”