The 2012 offseason has been a busy time at CollegeFootballPoll.com as the independently-owned website joined forces with The USA TODAY Sports Media Group to further expand its reach. The website's founder and owner, Dave Congrove, also joined the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall Of Fame, and voted in the nominating process of the 2012 College Football Hall Of Fame class.
CollegeFootballPoll.com was created in 1999 by Congrove who maintains the Congrove Computer Rankings of major college football teams which he developed in 1993. The 2012 season will serve as the 20th anniversary of the rankings and the 14th season of college football coverage on the CollegeFootballPoll.com website.
Congrove is a voting member of the Vince Lombardi and Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year awards, as well as a nominating member for the Bronko Nagurski and Outland trophies, and the 25-player FWAA All-America Team.
Congrove is also a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the Independent Football Researchers Association (IFRA).
USA TODAY's completed acquisition of Fantasy Sports Ventures (FSV) and Big Lead Sports gives it the largest independent digital sports property in North America, of which Congrove said, "CollegeFootballPoll.com is proud to be a part of. It is a direct result of the size of the audience we have created and the quality of the product we continue to work tirelessly to deliver."
USA TODAY's parent company, Gannett Co. Inc., was already a significant minority shareholder of FSV. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The digital property is expected to become one of the top five sports sites on the web based on the most recent comScore metrics.
"This deal represents a major step forward for us, giving us dramatically more scale and a great ability to provide engaging, relevant content across the entire spectrum of sports fans," said Tom Beusse, president of USA TODAY Sports Media Group.
With nearly 19 million unique visitors in the latest comScore report, the FSV and Big Lead Sports property provide distinct and independent coverage of every major sport, including football, baseball, basketball, auto racing, hockey, soccer, college sports, high school sports and fantasy sports.
"We are very proud that we built Big Lead Sports into the No. 1 independent online sports property," said Chris Russo, founder and chief executive officer of Big Lead Sports. "Joining the USA TODAY family will enable Big Lead Sports to grow further and provide a new and bigger platform for our talented writers, contributors and advertising partners."
"The Big Lead sites have done a great job developing unique, independent voices and distinct points of view," said Dave Morgan, the USA TODAY Sports Media Group's senior vice president of content and editor-in-chief. "This acquisition extends our reach and deepens our engagement with core sports audiences, and is a strong complement to our position as a leading national sports property."
Congrove said, "I am equally pleased to be a member of the National Football Foundation as CollegeFootballPoll.com supports its stated mission." The National Football Foundation strives to promote and develop the power of amateur football in developing the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, competitive zeal and the drive for academic excellence in America's young people.
The College Football Hall Of Fame represents the highest level of achievement for players and coaches and serves as a shrine for all of amateur football. Through exhibits, programs and events, the Hall gives visitors a vivid look into the rich tradition, pageantry and excitement of the game. The 58,000-square-foot facility is regarded as one of the most exciting and interactive museums in the world.