ESPN Buys Women's Basketball College Recruiting Site

With coverage of high school sports mushrooming online, ESPN appears to have found an untapped niche: women's hoops. A source said the network has purchased, a Web site focusing on college recruiting and the nation's top female players.

The site, which is being integrated into, offers a linchpin that has driven interest in so many sites about men's high school sports: recruiting rankings. It lists a rundown of the top-rated juniors and seniors, along with the schools they are considering or will be attending.

ESPN executives declined comment.

HoopGurlz also allows users to search by college--to determine which recruits have committed to play there--and to comb through the leading players in some states. And the site offers videos featuring top players--an aspect that could be ramped up under ESPN's aegis--as well as podcasts that could find their way onto ESPN's expanding offerings there.

For some time, has provided robust coverage of men's high school recruiting for football and basketball - which is accessible through the ESPNU section.



Prior to the acquisition, HoopGurlz had been a content provider to It remains a stand-alone site, although apparently a low-traffic one. Both comScore and Nielsen said visitor levels did not meet minimum tracking levels.

Of course, that may have helped ESPN grab it for a modest price. Also, its advertising is minimal--something that is sure to increase within the ESPN portfolio. It does sell subscriptions to a more in-depth portion of the site.

Its founder is Glenn Nelson, who was an editor at men's recruiting site (now part of News Corp.) and a columnist with the Seattle Times. HoopGurlz has its own national director of scouting, Chris Hansen, who has 10 years of experience in women's basketball.

In addition to News Corp., other major media companies have recently snapped up men's high school recruiting sites, including CBS (MaxPreps), Yahoo ( and Sports Illustrated (

Once an afterthought, women's college basketball continues to gain popularity with high-profile programs such as Tennessee, Connecticut and UNC, and national TV coverage. And HoopGurlz plays into a trickle-down effect leading to a greater interest in recruiting.

Next story loading loading..