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SportsLine prepares for IPO

After five months of silence, the Internet-based sports media company resurfaces with an official filing.

After five months of silence, Sportsline USA has resurfaced with an official filing preparing the investment community for its initial public offering.

Though still in the preliminary stages of filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Sportsline yesterday laid out its recent financial information, expected stock ticker, risks, and expectations. The timing of the IPO, however, remained unknown, as did the number of shares the company plans to float and their target price.

SportsLine is an Internet-based sports media company that provides branded, interactive information and programming, as well as merchandise, to sports enthusiasts worldwide. The company's flagship Web site delivers interactive sports content and programming.

Traffic on the site, according to the company, has increased to 1.2 million page views per day, with 38,000 paying members as of June 1997.

According to the filing, SportsLine is pursuing multiple revenue opportunities, including membership and premium service fees, third-party Web-site development, content licensing, and radio syndications. The company applied to trade on the Nasdaq market under the symbol "SPLN."

Since March 31, 1996, a majority of the company's revenue has been derived from advertising. And although most of the content on the company's Web site is free, users can purchase memberships, per-fee content, and products. The company expects to generate revenue from transactions on its Web sites, including the sale of memorabilia, licensed apparel and other sports-related products, syndication of its programming in other media, and development of Web sites for third parties.

For the six months ending in June, SportsLine recorded a net loss of $11.1 million, compared with a loss of $5.1 million for the same period a year earlier. Revenue grew to $2.8 million, up from $535,000 generated in the same period a year earlier.

This past March, SportsLine entered into a five-year agreement with CBS in which, over the term of the agreement, it has the right to use certain CBS logos and some television-related sports content. It expects to receive at least $57 million of network television advertising and on-air promotions.

CBS, in turn, has the right to receive 60 percent of SportsLine's advertising revenue sold on the Web site for pages related to certain "signature events," and 50 percent of the company's advertising revenue sold on pages containing other CBS television-related sports content.

The underwriters include Robertson, Stephens & Company, Cowen & Company, and Montgomery Securities. Those firms could not be reached for comment this afternoon.