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Rivals.com boosts Southern college sports coverage

Continuing its expansion in the niche sports market, the Internet sports news service acquires AllianceSports, a Web network of unofficial sites for Southern college athletics teams.

Continuing its expansion in the niche sports market, Internet sports news service Rivals.com has acquired AllianceSports, a Web network of unofficial sites for Southern college athletics teams, Rivals announced today.

Rivals, based in Seattle, Wash., said that its network will soon feature AllianceSports sites, which include online coverage of college teams in Tennessee, Texas, Kentucky and Georgia. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

"On one network you can get in-depth news on your favorite team, post thoughts on the message boards, review videos of players, and (review) game highlights," Greg Gough, co-owner of AllianceSports, said in a statement.

In December, Rivals' online coverage of niche sporting events got a boost when the company linked with FoxSports.com. While Rivals focuses more on college and high school football and basketball, FoxSports provides fans news about all professional sports and teams.

Although analysts have said that the long-term market for niche programming is somewhat uncertain, Rivals saw its ratings climb in November to rank No. 16 among online sports sites in terms of unique users, a Nielsen/NetRatings report showed.