Another day, another acq-hire for ESPN as the network looks to established online voices. Yesterday the Disney division announced it had picked up the Talented Mr. Roto and signed its founder Matthew Berry. Now the company has acquired TrueHoop.com, a leading sports blog covering the NBA, and signed blogger Henry Abbott as an NBA expert. Abbott will continue to operate TrueHoop but on ESPN where he “will set the table for NBA fans on ESPN.com each day.” He’ll contribute to podcasts but no promises about ESPN TV and radio — although I would bet he shows up somewhere during ESPN’s coverage of NBA All-Star events this weekend. No terms disclosed.
Abbott blogged about the sale, of course: “They now own the name TrueHoop, and I am a full-time ESPN employee. … To be honest, I wasn’t looking to sell TrueHoop, and I liked owning it. But TrueHoop needed a new model (besides the zero income one) if it was going to pay my mortgage.” One change: a travel budget. But, he reassured fans, TrueHoop.com won’t go behind the ESPN Insider paywall. For a sense of why ESPN is interested, the post has 142 comments already. Passion mixed with knowledge.
Local sitesESPN is also launching a network of local sites integrated with ESPNRadio.com expanded local digital radio. The network starts with owned stations in New York City, Chicago Los Angeles, Dallas and Pittsburgh. Chicago is first.