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Sports Illustrated, Turner to Combine Online Sports

July 12 (Bloomberg) -- Time Warner Inc. is consolidating the online operations of its Sports Illustrated magazine and Turner Sports to challenge Internet sports destination ESPN.com.

Sports Illustrated will continue to create all editorial content, and Turner Sports will handle the technical operations, ad sales and marketing for SI.com, New York-based Time Warner said today in a statement.

The partnership between the Time Inc. magazine and Turner Broadcasting cable-television units further cements Time Warner’s grab for more of the sports entertainment market. In April, Turner and CBS Corp. agreed to a $10.8 billion, 14-year contract for the broadcast, Internet and wireless rights to the men’s college basketball championship tournament. New York-based CBS and Turner outbid Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN.

Time Warner said the partnership will create new revenue and marketing opportunities for SI.com, Golf.com and Turner’s 19 sports and entertainment websites, including those for Nascar racing and professional baseball and basketball. The units will also work together to produce new mobile products and applications. Sports Illustrated already produces a tablet version of its content for Apple Inc.’s iPad.

Time Warner fell 9 cents to $30.10 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have gained 3.3 percent this year. Burbank, California-based Disney added 2 cents to $33.77.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Rabil in New York at srabil@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net

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