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Updated below: WePlay, a NYC-based community site for youth sports, has raised a $1.87 $4.5 million first round from Pequot Private Equity,…

Updated below: WePlay, a NYC-based community site for youth sports, has raised a $1.87 $4.5 million first round from Pequot Private Equity, CAA and Major League Baseball, says peHUB. The site, which is in private, closed beta, will have social networking features, as well as playing tips. When launched, CAA-repped atheletes including Derek Jeter, Lebron James and Peyton Manning will be associated with it. Eventually, CAA will offer all of the 300 athletes on its roster the chance to participate.

Rafat adds: This was incubated out of CAA, and Steve Hansen, once the COO of Geocities, is the CEO of this new venture which will focus on pre-high school sports.

Updated: NYT has a longer story tonight: The videos of the athletes as children, as well as footage from recent shoots — a camera crew will join LeBron James at his high school gym in the coming weeks, for example — will surround the more traditional features of social media. Derek Jeter is receiving equity in WePlay in exchange for his involvement, and also invested some of his own money.

The financial backers are already thinking about other niche-oriented social networking sites:

  1. I think the social networking sites, like their predecessor the dating site, will fragment into niche markets. You will always have your big all inclusives, but as the specific needs of small groups are recognized, the market will build around that need.

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