ESPN has Grantland, which it built itself and is building out digitally. Turner Sports has Bleacher Report, which it acquired last year and has been featuring in TV segments. NBC Sports acquired Pro Football Talk, and now turned it into a TV show.
Might SB Nation be next? To be sure, it is unlikely that SB Nation, which is owned by Vox Media, would sell, but it has one of the strongest brands in sports news, and clearly there is a hankering on the part of legacy companies to get a piece of the young people that flock to the digital sports sites every day.
In an interview with TV trade newsletter Cynopsis, Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff says that there is TV in the future for SB nation, and hints at what it might be.
We have given [TV] some thought and even had some discussions though I haven’t shared that information with anyone yet and I should stress that we haven’t entered into any partnerships that we are ready to announce.
As you can imagine, we do get a lot of interest from networks and the TV industry. Especially since there are several new and upcoming sports networks that are looking for high-quality programming, which we have an abundance of. SB Nation can also bring them an established audience to boost ratings.
Reading between the lines it sounds like the upcoming Fox Sports 1 might be a good fit for SB nation. Of course, with so many sports TV channels out there, there may be other players in this game too. Both NBC Sports Network and CBS Sports Network are looking for big, bold content to differentiate themselves and catch up to market leader ESPN and Fox Sports 1, which is launching with a slew of big game rights.