Sports.com faces knockout blow

The Internet-based sports news site has gone into administration, putting some 150 jobs at risk

Sports.com is close to getting the red card after the Internet sports site was placed in administration by the UK courts on Friday.

The company is hoping to sell the UK site as a going concern, but the feeling within the dot-com industry is that this is unlikely and that Sports.com will close this summer with the loss of up to 150 jobs.

Sports.com went into administration on Friday morning, shortly before the start of the World Cup -- which had been expected to generate a boost in the number of people visiting the site. It is expected to stay in operation until the World Cup finishes, at the end of June.

London based-firm Baker Tilly, who has been appointed as administrators, has now taken charge of Sports.com and will attempt to realise the maximum value of the company's assets.

"We think there is a possibility of selling the Sports.com Web site, and we intend to run it through the World Cup," said Bruce Mackay of Baker Tilly. "For this we need to secure the support of key suppliers, the advertisers and sponsors, and of course the public who use the site," Mackay added, in a statement released by Sports.com.

According to Baker Tilly, Sports.com's European subsidiaries are not in administration, and are up for sale.

The decision to put Sports.com into administration appears to have been precipitated by the refusal of one of the site's backers -- US-based SportsLine.com -- to provide additional funding for the company.

"We and the other shareholders were unwilling to provide additional capital to fund Sports.com's operations and we support the decision by the Sports.com board of directors to place the company in administration in order to protect the creditors," said Michael Levy, chairman and chief executive of SportsLine.com, which owns around 30 percent of Sports.com, in a statement released late on Friday.

Sports.com had content deals with a number of big-name companies and football clubs, including Juventus and Manchester United.


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