PA Sport has announced an investment in Australian sports internet company, Sportal Australia, in a move interpreted as a significant expansion both geographically and for multi-platform media provision.
PA Sport will acquire 33.3 per cent of Sportal Australia to gain exclusive rights to commercialise and develop Sportal’s content and technical products and services outside Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. In return, Sportal will become the sales agent for PA Sport’s content and services in their home territories of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
Chris Buckley, CEO of PA Sport, said: “Sportal particularly stood out because it appreciates the importance of quality journalism and sourcing accurate information direct from the event rather than second-hand reporting.”
Chris Mutimer, CEO and director of Sportal Australia, said that the deal would allow the company to take its technology and services beyond the Australian and New Zealand market to a global client base.
“We can bring back to our shores the phenomenal content output of PA Sport, covering European, North American and Asian sports. With PA Sport we know we have found a partner with the right fit.”
Sportal Australia began operations in October 1999, and was originally a fully-owned subsidiary of Sportal in the UK.
Sportal forged long-term relationships with Europe’s top football clubs and produced euro2000.org, one of the most popular sports websites ever. But Sportal was purchased by Sporting Life in September 2001.
Sportal Australia launched its first site, pgatour.com.au, in January 2000. Featuring live scoring from Australasian PGA Tour events, regular updates and audio of the players, it was the seventh most-visited Australian sports website within a week.
In April 2000, Sportal launched an AFL website in conjunction with phone company, Telstra, and a month later established football site, theworldgame.com.au.
Sportal then designed, developed and managed official websites for the Victorian cricket team, the AFL’s West Coast Eagles, the NRL’s Brisbane Broncos, the Professional Golfers Association of Australia and the NSW Institute of Sport.
Acknowledging Sportal’s expertise, Telstra – having purchased the Australian Football League online rights – awarded the contract for developing, designing, producing and operating afl.com.au and 16 clubs sites to Sportal in late 2001.
Sportal is producing and providing content for the AFL-Telstra network sites, and is expanding the network to include the Australian Rules football leagues in each state.
In addition, Sportal has developed online partnerships with Cricket Australia, cricket.com.au, Football Federation Australia a-league.com.au, the National Basketball League nbl.com.au, the New Zealand Breakers nzbreakers.co.nz, and the Melbourne Cricket Club mcc.org.au and mcg.org.au.
Sportal also provides unique sports content for both online and wireless applications, including live scoring and match reporting of many sports.
Sportal also provides content to other sites. Wireless partners, including Telstra, Hutchison and Vodafone (Australia and New Zealand) also receive content directly from Sportal.