The Business of Madden

Posted by jgaudiosi :: Sports & Video Games

Madden07360With "Madden" on store shelves and selling like hot cakes, the videogame has become a business opportunity for entrepeneurs looking to cash in on the most popular sports videogame of all time. Over the years, Web sites like MaddenNation.com, MaddenPlanet.com and now SportsGamer.com have emerged. Bhu Srinivasan, a former director of business development with InfoSpace.com and ex-owner of the online mag Salon.com, has set his sites on sports videogames.

The sports videogame market accounts for roughly one-quarter of the annual sales of all games in the U.S. That's a huge market that hasn't been covered from a mass market level aimed at casual sports fans and gamers before. While ESPN is launching a new videogame Web page with Ziff Davis in September, SportsGamer.com is already in full gear with "Madden" coverage from pro gamers dominating its site. While it covers all sports games, "Madden" is clearly the main focus.

EA Sports has worked with ESPN to turn "Madden" into a hit TV show, a pay-per-view special and other programming fodder like the annual Madden Bowl tournament Super Bowl week. Srinivasan has signed on "Madden Nation" player Daniel Grundei, along with other "Madden" greats to bring detailed tips and strategies to gamers for free. While there's an entire business of strategy guides out there, this site is looking to make a name for itself by offering new content for free year-round.

It's an interesting move that could work. There aren't many niches left in the game world, especially online where all the advertising dollars are currently flowing. But sports gaming offers the chance for a host of companies to target a male demographic that might not read GameSport or IGN on a regular basis. "Madden" is the type of game that can attract eyeballs year-round, as the NFL has become a sport that warrants headlines even during the off-season. EA is doing its part by releasing new football games like "NFL Head Coach" and "NFL Street 3" to offer "Madden" fans other variations of the sport during the summer and winter months.

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