News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWS)(NASDAQ:NWSA) isn’t the only company making grabs for more sports media. On Sunday, Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) announced a content and promotional partnership with NBC Sports Group that will combine Yahoo’s sports coverage and fantasy sports platforms with NBC Sports’ content and digital assets.
The hook here is in the second line from Yahoo’s press release about the deal: “This alliance of two of the most trusted brands in sports will become the daily habit of fans looking for an all-star lineup of digital and on-air experiences.” Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) can testify that there is substantial money to be made in being a daily habit. An audience comprised of the millions of sports enthusiasts that Yahoo and NBC Sports hope to capture with this relationship would be a prime target for advertisers.
Data from eMarketer, which collects and analyzes digital intelligence, bluntly illustrates Yahoo’s current advertising position. The company claimed the largest share of display ad revenue in 2010, beating out both Facebook and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). But by 2011, the company’s share dropped 3 percentage points and it fell to third place. Its share is expected to drop nearly 2 more percentage points in 2012, landing it in an even more distant third place, while Google and Facebook both grow their shares at its expense.
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Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer has made many changes at Yahoo to make the company compete more directly with its rivals, but the deal with NBC Sports capitalizes on a difference that could be a key strength. Google and Facebook can’t provide the same sort of loyal, sports-driven audience that Yahoo can — especially not after this content deal. This could mean growth for Yahoo’s struggling share of display advertising revenue…