Coincidentally timed to my WSJ column earlier today, the WSJ's Kara Swisher floats a really interesting rumor: That Yahoo is about to acquire a major sports company, and that Citizen Sports seems like the most likely fit.
First of all, I know Jeff Ma and the Citizen Sports group, and they are brilliant, terrific people creating an absolutely phenomenal product -- they are at the leading edge. They have the Sportacular iPhone app, but for their best stuff, go to Facebook, where they understand the space as well as any company out there, including Zynga.
And what they do -- particularly in social media -- would fit snugly in Yahoo's portfolio of sports products. It's a complement -- and something that keeps pace with ESPN in the social media space.
But there's more: In the same way that Carol Bartz recognized that Jamie Mottram's sports-blog strategy was a template for other categories (News, Entertainment, etc.), the Citizen Sports platform capabilities can be leveraged for way more than sports. And it will be.
On the one hand, Citizen Sports would help Yahoo connect with their users in new and different and powerful ways. On the other, of course, there is tremendous revenue potential to unlock -- either with brand sponsorships or a la carte mobile applications.
Credit Yahoo for dipping into start-up sports media to help the company grow. And Citizen Sports would be a hell of a smart acquisition -- the $50 million Swisher is talking about seems like a great price.
I'm surprised that AOL didn't pursue this more aggressively, because it is a similarly good fit for what AOL is trying to do, esp. at that price.
Tracking, but all eyes on Carol Bartz at the World Sports Congress on Wednesday in Yahoo's LA backyard.