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FoxSports.com and Lycos end partnership

The site ends a marketing partnership with Web portal Lycos under which Lycos sold advertising for the online sports destination and hosted the site.

FoxSports.com has ended a marketing partnership with Web portal Lycos under which Lycos sold advertising for the online sports destination and hosted the site.

At the time of its inception, the deal was heralded as a win-win co-branding move that would provide Lycos with solid content and FoxSports with a greater reach through the portal.

However, FoxSports said Tuesday that it decided not to extend the contract beyond its terms, instead taking all of Lycos' responsibilities in-house to better control operations and its future.

"At the time, the fit was perfect," Ross Levinsohn, senior vice president of FoxSports, said in an interview, "but today their strategy has changed a little bit, so we decided it's time to walk away."

Terra Lycos spokesman Brian Payea said, "At some point we approached Fox and agreed to pursue our own strategies, and we reached a mutually agreeable resolution. We are pursuing a number of different options."

As part of the move, FoxSports has hired John Trimble, based in New York, as vice president of sales.

FoxSports' decision underscores Lycos' waning influence as a major Web portal. The site, a division of Spanish Internet company Terra Lycos, laid off 22 percent of its work force in February as part of an overall restructuring of its business.

The layoffs came a few months after Terra Lycos' head of U.S. operations, Stephen Killeen, left the company. Terra Lycos restructured to assume more of a global, rather than regional, focus.

Levinsohn said FoxSports is not currently in discussions to partner with another Web portal, but he did not discount the possibility of a future arrangement.

"We certainly will have conversations, but I don't have anyone on the road looking for a new deal right now," Levinsohn said.