While Yahoo's acquisition of college and high school sports site Rivals.com is a move to boost community and the content on Yahoo Sports don't underestimate the impact on Yahoo's local reach.
Local sports are the primary reason that local newspapers exist. In fact, I'd argue it's the No. 1 reason they have subscribers. My local paper for instance, does a good job covering the local high schools, recruits and other local sports. Yes, the township meetings and school tax stories are welcome, but I really want to read about the state finals. That's why I'm a subscriber.
If all politics is local then sports is really local--I know since I've been berated over a throwaway line in a little league baseball recap before. Local sports are a community's anchor--and Yahoo just bought an entry just days after a management shakeup.
With Rivals.com Yahoo can get a lot more local. Couple Rivals.com with Yahoo's deals with newspapers and you could cobble together some really granular local content that Google won't easily replicate.
It's unclear whether Yahoo even realizes how big this local angle can be. In Yahoo's press release, the company cited community, rabid fans and content as the main benefits of the purchase. Financial terms weren't disclosed, but PaidContent puts the deal at about $100 million.
The acquisition will significantly expand the community offerings and open publishing capabilities of Yahoo! Sports, which has the most engaged sports audience on Internet.
The fact that Rivals.com has a "locally-driven open publishing network" gets a passing mention. But if My Yahoo could put local high school and my alma mater's latest results I'm much more likely to go there. Show me the top high school football recruits in my county and it's a bigger win.
Over time, Rivals.com and its two million fans each month will be a way for Yahoo to burrow into communities. Maps and reviews of a local pizza joint are one thing. Knowing the top recruit rankings in PA is another level entirely.
This acquisition could be far reaching--if Yahoo capitalizes.