Gannett Gets Big Stake In High-School Sports Site

Media companies seemingly can't get enough high-school sports. From Sports Illustrated's weekly coverage to a new online venture by the Hearst-Argyle station group, companies are looking to tap into the excitement, partly fueled by college fans interested in who may be joining their team. Gannett is the latest to make an acquisition in the area, taking a majority stake in the company (Schedule Star LLC) that runs HighSchoolSports.net.

The parties did not release terms.

Gannett says the site has more unique users than the mass of other sites in the field.

The site focuses on schedules, results and other information for particular schools. For Gannett, with its struggling newspaper operations, Internet ventures with local appeal are an expected growth engine. The announcement of the acquisition came on the same day that Gannett reported disappointing third-quarter results.

"HighSchoolSports.net's network of thousands of high school sites--in communities of all sizes--is an unmatched experience for users, as well as a national and hyper-local platform for advertisers," said Jack Williams, president of Gannett Digital.

"When partnered with Gannett's local newspapers, television stations and Web sites, HighSchoolSports.net will offer national and local advertisers an exciting, best-of-class vehicle to reach teens and parents."

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