msnbc.com isn’t going to be confused with ESPN for sports centric reporting any time soon but that doesn’t mean quality sports coverage isn’t a priority at the NBC and Microsoft owned Internet news portal. Big changes are due on the site just in time for the Superbowl.
Announced today, the report is MSNBC and NBCSports.com have entered a multi year syndication deal where NBCSports will provide all sports related content for the MSNBC.com site. The offering will include everything from video and fantasy sport coverage to breaking news.
Content changes that are part of the deal will be effective immediately. A major relaunch and promotional campaign supporting the changes are due in February.
MSNBC said previously that the plan is to diversify their content pool and offer as wide and deep a selection of news and features as possible. The underlying goal, apparently similar to Yahoo’s stated strategy, is to make their site a first stop destination. It’s a defensive move designed to preempt search engine and news aggregator sites’ which have been taking a more prominent role directing web traffic. Rather than relying on other sites to be “discovery agents” MSNBC, like Yahoo, wants to give viewers a reason to come to them first.
A deal between msnbc.om and NBCSports.com fits within that strategy as does last months purchase of social news site Newsvine. Presumably, the hope is the combined traffic and shared resources will both reduce expense and provide a more complete platform than possible independently. (MSNBC currently draws around 29m viewers a month)