While many people were reading the tea leaves from CNN's decision to rebrand cnnsi.com to cnnbr.com, the more interesting part of the story was the role site traffic and web analytics must have played. Simply put, Bleacher Report drives more site traffic than Sports Illustrated. Turner, which owns both CNN and BR, made a good decision. Site traffic will force online sites to establish new partnerships with web analytics providing the support for such decision. Awful Announcing provides the money comment:
If AOL were to revisit its sports options, they'd certainly find a seller's market as SI, Sporting News, and potentially the likes of SB Nation would have interests in securing the AOL traffic firehouse.
Provided AOL can continue to generate 10 million unique visitors a month, SI along with the Sporting News, and SB Nation would probably offer more than the $5 million a year AOL currently receives from the Sporting News for its partnership. Although Awful Announcing focused on AOL's possible partners, NBC is not mentioned.
NBC, which operates the msnbc.com site, launched a sports cable channel to compete against ESPN. A partnership with SI or SB Nation could create a lot of traffic to msnbc.com and provide a platform to attract viewers to the nascent sports cable channel.
To find the value and support a recommendation, all parties would do well to examine such metrics as bounce rate, click-through rates, and social media activity (likes, tweets, +1, etc.) to decide a good partnership. By placing a dollar amount on these metrics, a site owner like NBC or AOL could properly assess a monetary value to the relationship. In turns, both relational partners could achieve superior financial performance.