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Why Polaris is Backing World Championship Sports Network

March 2, 2006

vcmike

Fresh on the heels of the Torino Olympics, we just closed a financing with an early stage company called World Championship Sports Network.

I am more than a bit biased, but I think this is a really exciting opportunity.

The easiest way to describe this company is as a network for Olympic Sports, distributed over broadband, TV and mobile. While we all get to watch things like skiing, snowboarding, swimming, track and field, volleyball, etc., during national broadcasts of the Olympic Games, outside of the Olympics, the vast majority of world championship caliber events for these sports are not accessible anywhere in North America.

That’s where WCSN comes in. They have managed to secure exclusive rights to distribute coverage of these sports’ World Championships, and other major international events, to US broadband, TV and mobile viewers.

So for those of you who would like to see how Lindsey Jacobellis, Bode Miller, and other US Olympians perform over the next four years, the only place you’ll be able to find regular coverage of their events will be WCSN.

From an investment perspective, this opportunity struck a familiar chord with me and my partners — valuable proprietary content, with demonstrated consumer interest, that is well suited to be consumed over the new IP platforms.

As with our investments in Turbine Entertainment (which has exclusive rights to produce massively multiplayer games for premier franchises like Dungeons and Dragons and Lord of the Rings) and Heavy.com (which develops and owns its own content), we are excited about the propsects for new media companies which have proprietary content that is attractive to broad consumer audiences.

9 Comments

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  1. Just curious #
    March 3, 2006

    Why will this do better than Quokka did?

    Clearly they’ll be more sensible with cash and bandwidth is way cheaper now, but is the demand really that high>

  2. March 10, 2006

    Not sure an all-encomapssing online sports network will ever work, niche ones I can see, a good example of this is http://cycling.tv

    Those guys are steadily building up a fantsatic portfolio of rights and presenting them to the cycling community in an innovative way.

    We’re getting lots of online sports coverage here in the UK, particularly from the BBC, they’re doing a great job.

  3. March 12, 2006

    Just curious and mspoke:

    Same general reaction to both of your comments — while I think you’d be surprised at the size of the audiences that aggregate around some of the more substantial international sports, I absolutely agree that the power in this model is the collection of a number of different targetted micro-communities which in the aggregate is a large audience. As such, one of the important challenges for a company like WCSN is not to get too preoccupied marketing the parent site and to be sure that each individual “channel” does a great job speaking directly to the loyal following for that particular sport.

  4. March 13, 2006

    Mike, I’m not doubting the audiences these events can generate, it was more the point you addressed regarding marketing the parent site, I absolutely agree that would be the wrong route to go down. I’m thinking that marketing the ‘event’ more than the channel will bring greater results in this instance. I do think the more channels of this kind we see the more event owners will wake up to the possibilities.

    I hoped we would see governing bodies pushing to get their sports covered in the online environment but in my experience it’s generally networks like WCSN trying to educate the rights holders in what can be achieved. The world’s biggest sports such as Football, Formula 1, Tennis and Golf have not been great in this respect. I think we’ll see the smaller sports and networks such as WCSN really taking charge of this area for while yet.

  5. January 8, 2007

    Thanks!

  6. max #
    January 2, 2010

    Классные мультфильмы бесплатно на Кинозоуне.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. PaidContent.org
  2. Sports Programmer World Championship Sports Network Receives Funding — Tech News and Analysis
  3. Sports Programmer World Championship Sports Network Receives Funding — paidContent

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