In March, Comcast SportsNet purchased Philadelphia sports blog The700level.com. Three months later, CSN has apparently made another move.
Last week, Jason Weitzel, the founder of seven-year-old Phillies blog Beerleaguer.com, announced that his site had been acquired for an undisclosed sum.
Like in the 700 Level deal, the property was bought out entirely though it will retain editorial control and its founder was given a position with CSN.
Weitzel, who spent eight years at the Reading Eagle newspaper, most recently at readingeagle.com, says he left to take a content manager position with Comcast Sports Group. But he says he’s not worried about stepping on the toes of Enrico Campitelli, the 29-year-old founder of the 700 Level.
“There’s really no connection, other than we’re running the same ad stacks and providing some supplementary content for the CSNPhilly mothership,” Weitzel says. “I’m more mindful of overlapping content in general since the acquisition, but Enrico’s team has a different voice than Beerleaguer and covers all the sports instead of just Phillies, so there’s really no risk of cannibalizing each other.”
The conversation between Weitzel and CSN started in September 2008, he says. They went in agreement last month and closed with a domain transfer earlier this month. What the two moves mean is the obvious, says Weitzel, 32, that CSN is “committed to local sports content.”
“Philadelphia has always had a very provincial relationship to their teams, and the 700 Level and Beerleaguer are similar in that they genuinely live and breathe it. But there’s a traffic bump in it for CSNPhilly as well. The 700 Level’s audience is particularly robust. Beerleaguer targets a smaller group with very specific tastes.
According to public traffic data estimate site Compete, Beerleaguer averages fewer than 10,000 unique visitors a month, though those metrics are often criticized for under counting web stats. The 700 Level averaged more than 30,000 uniques leading up to its purchase, according to the same site, though it has more than doubled since.
The Penn State alumnus originally from Topton, Pa. in Berks County now lives with his wife and son in West Mount Airy. He says he loves to work — even if cartooning was his first passion and Beerleaguer still remains something of an afterthought.
He took the content position first and the blog acquisition was “secondary.”
“Long story short, most of my day is dedicated to editorial and design support and development for CSNPhilly and CSN’s regional affiliates in Boston, Washington, Chicago, etcetera, with Beerleaguer handled in the cracks in between,” he says. “So Beerleaguer still feels like a hobby, even though it’s part of the package. It’s how I wanted it. I never had any aspirations to cover the beat. Overall, it’s the perfect gig.”
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