COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, January 10. SWIMMING World has learned that USA Swimming's media venture, Swimnetwork.com, will end Wednesday with a notice redirecting users to USASwimming.org.
The site will remain active until mid-April as existing content is migrated to the national governing body's website. Swimnetwork's event webcast platform will now reside on USASwimming.org, starting with this weekend's Austin Grand Prix.
The blogging elements on Swimnetwork.com will be de-emphasized. Webcasts and events will take on a greater focus for the organization. The brand Swimnetwork will no longer be used, but USA Swimming will keep the domain to re-direct traffic.
The move will generate an estimated savings of approximately $170,000 in 2011 and $240,000 in 2012, according to USA Swimming.
Swimnetwork.com streamed their first event in November 2007 with the webcast of the USA Short Course National Championship through its relationship with the Wasserman Media Group.
WMG held those rights for more than two years in what was considered at the time a landmark deal in which multiple National Governing Bodies bundled their marketing and digital rights together. Of the three NGBs, USA Swimming was the only one that moved quickly on the deal. The basis for the original deal required WMG to guarantee millions of dollars to USA Swimming over a long-term period. In return, WMG wanted exclusive broadcast and sponsorship sales rights to USA Swimming and its events. WMG was to sell sponsorship packages around these events and assets in order to recoup their investment in USA Swimming.
USA Swimming and WMG went on to be co-owners of Swimnetwork.com through a 50/50 Limited Liability Corporation partnership. It was the first time a not-for-profit NGB owned a for-profit media news outlet.
In March 2009, USA Swimming acquired full control of Swimnetwork when the Wasserman Media Group elected to exit its digital rights partnership with USA Swimming.
According to Matt Farrell, chief marketing officer for USA Swimming, "Swimnetwork has continued to grow in the last two years (22% growth in 2010 over 2009) and more than 1 million people watched webcasts in 2010, but I support consolidating this into USASwimming.org, which reaches more than 500,000 visitors per month."