Los Angeles, CA March 19, 2009 — GrindTV and Sportnet announced plans today to combine the web's two top action sports properties into one dominant digital action sports network collectively reaching over ten million monthly visitors. The company will operate as Sportnet, and will provide exclusive content, robust community features and a suite of online utilities. It will also provide both endemic and mainstream marketers with an ideal way to reach a coveted and trend-setting audience. The announcement was made today by Erik Hawkins, CEO and co-founder of GrindTV, and Ron Bension CEO of Sportnet.
Hawkins and GrindTV co-founder and COO Greg Morrow launched GrindTV in 2005, and since that time have grown the site into the leading destination for fans of action sports. GrindTV is the exclusive action sports channel on Yahoo! Sports, and is backed by venture capital firm SoftBank Capital.
"By joining forces with Sportnet, we now have access to deep sport-specific communities on sites such as Wetsand.com, Motocross.com and Skateboard.com. We are committed to leveraging these complementary online properties to create the leading action sports media company for fans, marketers, and the industry," said Hawkins and Morrow.
"The combination of GrindTV and Sportnet creates a clear market-leader in the exciting action sports segment," said SoftBank Capital Managing Director Eric Hippeau. "We have been behind GrindTV from the very beginning, and its always exciting when a portfolio company takes flight."
"Through GrindTV, Erik and Greg have uniformly built the leading action sports portal available on a digital platform. By combining their properties with Sportnet's associated sites and Wasserman's business and management infrastructure, consumers, advertisers and the overall action sports category will benefit," said Ron Bension, CEO, Sportnet.
Via distribution relationships with companies such as Hulu, Comcast, MSN and Google, content from the new Sportnet sites will be distributed digitally to web, wireless and IPTV platforms that reach hundreds of millions of users worldwide. The new Sportnet will be headquartered in El Segundo, CA, with offices in Orange County, CA and New York. Hawkins and Morrow will serve as CEO and COO of the combined company.
Launched in 2007 by Wasserman Media Group, Sportnet produces content across sites covering action sports including Motocross, Mountain Bike, Skateboard, Snowboarding, and Surf. Along with editorial, community and video content, Sportnet has hosted and webcasted live events such as the Maloof Money Cup for Skateboard.com, the AMA motocross series for Motocross.com, as well as the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and Globe Pro Fiji for Wetsand.com.
As part of the deal, Wasserman and SoftBank will collectively become majority shareholders of the combined company. Additionally, Wasserman CEO and Chairman Casey Wasserman and COO Josh Swartz will join SoftBank's Eric Hippeau and Cindy Sperling on the company's Board of Directors.
About Wasserman Media Group
Wasserman Media Group is a global sports and entertainment marketing company with leadership positions in athlete management, property representation, consulting and digital content. For more information go to www.wmgllc.com
GrindTV is a leading online destination for fans of action and adrenaline sports. The company provides compelling lifestyle content, community tools and sport-specific utilities that enhance the enthusiast experience in the real world.
About SoftBank Capital
SoftBank Capital is an independent venture capital firm focused on high-growth technology-based businesses benefiting from the rapid deployment and adoption of broadband and mobile technologies.