LOS ANGELES, California, August 31. THE Wasserman Media Group (WMG) has acquired TimedFinals (TF) and DeckPass according to a recent USA Swimming Board of Director's e-mail.
In April, the WMG announced a "long-term exclusive partnership with USA Swimming, USA Gymnastics and USA Track & Field to represent the trio in the marketplace for sponsorship, events and marketing opportunities, and develop digital platforms to broaden distribution and original programming."
The joint-partnership is meant to promote each individual sport through sport-specific sites on WMG's online sports web site called Sportnet.
Notably, WMG had been publicizing both TimedFinals and DeckPass as "Sportnet Properties" on Sportnet over the past few days. However, within hours of Swimming World Magazine's request for a comment from TF, WMG took down both web sites from its property line-up.
USA Swimming later issued this statement: "TimedFinals and Deckpass are leaders in the development of online swim content and community. Together with Sportnet's technology, marketing and business development, and the support of USA Swimming, Scott Goldblatt, Casey Barrett and their team will provide swim fans with unprecedented coverage of the sport, and a place where fans can learn, train, and interact with the swim community," said Luke McDonough, CEO, Sportnet.com, a Wasserman Media Group company.
Questions still abound as to whether TimedFinals and DeckPass will morph into the Sportnet site or will become the commercial site recently referred to by Chuck Wielgus, CEO for USA Swimming.
In an exclusive TimedFinals.com interview, Wielgus was quoted as saying, "In the coming months we will be launching a new commercially-oriented web site that will be designed to better market and promote our sport. This is going to be a very exciting development for swimming and this new site will hopefully create an extremely active ‘social community' for not only our members, but for anyone interested in learning more about all aspects of swimming."
More questions about the relationship will surely surface; especially one that questions how a non-profit organization can own a for-profit commercial site. When you add this new cash-flow stream to the deep pockets of USA Swimming, one would have to ask more about budgets and expenditures. Which leads to an interesting discussion that will take place at the upcoming USAS convention where the House of Delegates will be asked to approve legislation allowing the USA Swimming Board of Directors to approve budgets in the future instead of the House of Delegates.
The rest of the swimming blogosphere has also checked in with their thoughts on WMG and the acquisition. The Southern California Aquatics SCAQ Swim Club blog has had several posts regarding WMG as well as the acquisition.