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ESPN's Purchase of Truehoop.com shows that, as always, the sports media king gets the online world. They already have an industry leading website, have not been afraid of so-called cannibalization and do get the threat that bloggers present to their business and analysts. This from PaidContent.org:

The company has acquired TrueHoop.com, a leading sports blog covering the NBA, and signed blogger Henry Abbott as an NBA expert. Abbott will continue to operate TrueHoop but on ESPN where he “will set the table for NBA fans on ESPN.com each day.” He’ll contribute to podcasts but no promises about ESPN TV and radio—although I would bet he shows up somewhere during ESPN’s coverage of NBA All-Star events this weekend. No terms disclosed.

Abbott blogged about the sale, of course: “They now own the name TrueHoop, and I am a full-time ESPN employee. ... To be honest, I wasn’t looking to sell TrueHoop, and I liked owning it. But TrueHoop needed a new model (besides the zero income one) if it was going to pay my mortgage.” One change: a travel budget. But, he reassured fans, TrueHoop.com won’t go behind the ESPN Insider paywall. For a sense of why ESPN is interested, the post has 142 comments already. Passion mixed with knowledge.

Tech, which already has a bigger blogger community than sports, has had a termite effect on CNET (NASDAQ:CNET) but they have not moved in the same direction. I wonder if CNET will eventually come to the same conclusion and co-opt the A list tech bloggers before they get eaten from the bottom. Or, alternatively, look at some of the aggregator sites like techmeme.com and Digg that pose a similar threat:

cnet graph

(Note: Alexa stats are notoriously imperfect, but I think they are useful for trend watching.)

Related: Is CNET's Board Doing Enough?