How much did GCI pay for HighSchoolSports.net?

That’s what a reader asks in a recent e-mail. But I’m stumped for the answer, after trolling through Gannett’s press releases and its 2007 Annual Report to stockholders.

In October 2007, GCI bought a controlling stake in Schedule Star LLC, the parent of HighSchoolSports.net. But a purchase price and other such details weren’t included. The companies target high school coaches, students and their families — providing game schedules and related information.

The annual report offers a small clue, however: “The total cash paid in 2007 for business acquisitions was $30.6 million and for investments was $40.0 million.” I’m not sure whether Schedule Star is an acquisition, or an investment. But in either case, Gannett’s spending on HighSchoolSports was pretty tiny, which has been the pattern in GCI’s go-slow approach to investing in technology start-ups.

Anyone out there know more details? Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

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11 Responses to “How much did GCI pay for HighSchoolSports.net?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    And what a complete piece of crap that thing is!

    A monkey with a learning disability could’ve programmed a better system.

    More frittering of resources on poorly conceived Gannett-wide projects with half-assed execution.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    That has to be the worst investment Gannett’s ever made. There were better sites available but I guess they cost too much. It’s akin to walking away from buying Sports Illustrated because the price tag is too much and then paying a good chunk of money for a homemade newsletter and calling it an equivalent.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    $7.4 billion in revenues last year; $76 million in acquisitions and investments.That’s about a tenth of 1 percent. Way to innovate!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    For anyone forced to use PrepsFactory during the last few seasons, this new system has the potential for serious upgrade.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    @7:19, the interesting thing about PrepsFactory was that it was originally homegrown in Greenville and worked quite well. So well that GMTI took interest in it, convinced GCI to use it company-wide and proceeded to do what GMTI does best: destroy its functionality and make a general mess of things.

    One interesting question that Jim may want to pose someday: In what ways has GMTI itself harmed our efforts online? Considering our lives apparently depend on online efforts, it wouldn’t hurt to have GMTI halfway competent.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Agreed on PrepsFactory. A disaster, with software written by people who seemed to be clueless about sports.

    Fortunately, we were able to drop it after only a year.

    We’re also hoping for better things with HSS.net

  7. Anonymous Says:

    The company to watch on the HS sports scene is Dell Sports (no relation to the computer giant). They seem to have their act together and a good approach.

    HSS looks like the same ownership as another Gannett flop, Planet Discover. Looking at the management team there is at least one common name.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Man, I can’t agree more about PrepsFactory and Planet Discover. They were nightmares.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    I’m not going to attempt to make a passionate defense of Planet Discover, but I do believe that anyone putting that product in the “flop” column is sadly mistalen.

    Perhaps the rollout and implementation were lacking, but that’s a common trait of many Gannett corporate efforts.

    PD, meanwhile, replaced search tools that were already five years out of date by the time Gannett/InfiNet/GMTI foisted them upon the affilates. PD has its flaws, but it’s not an embarrassment on the scale of SchlockLocal (oops, Shop Local) and the legendary Celebro City Server.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Ok, it wasn’t a passionate argument but did make sense. I’m actually not from a Gannett market but rolled out PD with enough flaws that we canceled 2 years later. (The blessing of not having it forced on us)

    I will agree that it isn’t as bad as ShopLocal. (What is???)

    Although not a fop yet, PD and Digital have the same issue- poor execution.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    In the annual report, I did a search on “Schedule Star” (the parent company of HighSchoolSports.net) and found this:
    “In connection with the acquisition of a controlling interest in Schedule Star LLC in October 2007, the company recorded a liability of $7.2 million related to payments due to the sellers in future years.”

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