Sporting News Paid AOL Millions To Drop Fanhouse

Last Thursday I reported on the essential elimination of AOL Fanhouse, with the Fanhouse brand being folded into a Sporting News portal that AOL CEO Tim Armstrong elected to install as its website’s new sports content provider.

Sporting News Headline

 (Sporting News paying AOL millions? That’s no typo.)

After the Sporting News on AOL partnership was announced last Thursday, David Kaplan of had this from Armstrong on the prospect of Fanhouse job cuts:

During the Q&A session following Armstrong’s intro, our Staci D. Kramer asked what the cost savings would be and how many jobs might be affected. Armstrong said that a “couple dozen” jobs on the high end might be lost at FanHouse. He did not divulge how much the company would save by aggregating this outside content. He later added that there was no decision yet on job cuts at FanHouse. “It could be none,” he said.”

On the contrary, I’ve learned that of around 100 fulltime positions at Fanhouse, less than 10 will be retained by AOL. Kevin Blackistone, Terence Moore and Lisa Olson will be among the precious few kept on. The other surviving positions are likely to be staffed by columnists. Of roughly 100 AOL Fanhouse jobs, 26 included benefits.

The Sporting News will likely decide if it will hire any of the former AOL employees by the end of next week.

During his conference call to announce the effective dissolution of Fanhouse, Armstrong said of AOL handing over its sports biz to Sporting News: “Partnerships are based on our ability to offer partners (Sporting News) traffic. … (AOL) will make money doing it.

That is essentially why the deal happened.

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