SI Continues Interest In Social Networks; $25 Million On 40 percent Of Start-up FanNation.com?

Last week SI launched its relationship with high school social net Takkle. Now comes word that the Time Inc. magazine may be negotiating for a piece of social net FanNation.com, a creation of start-up Sports Technologies. Sports Business Journal’s Terry Lefton reports (sub. req.) SI has a “deal in principle” to invest $25 million for 40 percent of FanNation.com, subtitled “The Republic of Sport.” The amount sounds high — valuing the start-up site at about $60 million — and I’m not sure the deal has been done. SI already has a relationship with the parent company, which is about all Jeff Price, president of SI Digital, was willing to say via email tonight: “We love working with the Sports Technology team on our current program around mySI. Beyond that, we don’t comment on industry speculation.”
FanNation’s applications don’t have to end with sports. Time Inc. is looking for solutions across the magazine sites and this could be one. Lefton says the magazine sees the Connecticut-based start-up , founded earlier this year by former ESPN employees, as a way to close the gap with ESPN. Site elements include the FanNation NewsScout — pick a spot on the map and sports headlines pop up. As is the case with SI, Sports Technologies also provides its services for other sites. Investors include former NHL COO Steve Solomon, former Starwave chairman and CEO MIke Slade, and Jesse Itzler of SFX and Marquis Jet. Mashable has a writeup from September.

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