Sportal links up with Fininvest

London-based sports website network Sportal has formed an alliance with Italian media giant Fininvest.

London-based sports website network Sportal has formed an alliance

with Italian media giant Fininvest.



The deal gives Fininvest a minority stake in Sportal. The network, which

is preparing to launch sites in Italy and Spain in January, will provide

content for Fininvest’s websites. The media company will promote Sportal

through its Mediaset TV channels in Italy and Spain, its Mondadori print

products and its free access internet service Jumpy.



The alliance builds upon an existing relationship between Sportal and

the AC Milan football club, which Fininvest owns.



Sportal’s founder and CEO Robert Hersov believes the partnership will

give his company an edge over other new-media concerns expanding into

Europe. ’We believe Sportal can set the pace for web sports content in

both Italy and Spain, where internet usage is intense but as yet

confined to a comparatively small segment of the population,’ he

said.



He said the Fininvest link would give the Sportal brand access to sports

fans whether they were ’on the web, watching television, reading a

magazine, using a wireless device or at Milan’s San Siro stadium’.



Founded in 1998, Sportal is developing a worldwide network of websites

in partnership with sports groups and also under its own brand name. As

well as London, Sportal has offices in ten cities worldwide, including

Paris, Milan, Melbourne, Cape Town and Hong Kong.



The company recently lured Daniel Ward-Lee from the Electronic Telegraph

to join the sports network as commercial manager (Media Business, 15

November).



He is building up a sales team.



Mario Luzzi, the CEO of Europortal Investments - Fininvest’s internet

holding company - said the deal was an important step in its strategy of

building a leading European network of internet properties.



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