AOL Beefs Up Sports With Blogs

AOL is building out its sports section with the addition of 80 football-related blogs, the company said Monday.

The first set of blogs--which quietly rolled out last week--are devoted to the NFL, with AOL Sports now hosting one blog for each of the 32 professional NFL teams as well as a handful of other blogs devoted to subjects like fantasy football. The new blog section, dubbed "Fanhouse," will soon add more than 40 additional blogs devoted to college football. AOL is paying all of the new bloggers for each entry they write.

The goal, says Neal Scarbrough, General Manager of AOL Sports, is to increase the amount of time users spend on AOL's sports section. "AOL wants to crank up our sports coverage as a whole," he said, adding that the company specifically wants to boost user engagement.

AOL will promote the blogs through partnerships with other online sites, including fellow Time Warner property SI.com--the Web site of Sports Illustrated magazine.

Starting in a few weeks, readers also will be able to upload their own videos to the Fanhouse section; currently, users can post text comments on the blogs. AOL also plans to add blogs for the upcoming professional and college basketball season.

No sponsors have signed on yet; AOL's sales force is currently seeking advertisers for the initiative, Scarbrough said.

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