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Vox Media was formally formed in 2011, but it began with the creation of SB Nation (short for SportsBlog Nation), a network of more than 300 fan-run sports blogs, many of them dedicated to a particular team.
SB Nation was founded in 2003 by Tyler Bleszinski, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, founder of the political blog Daily Kos, and Jerome Armstrong, founder of the political blog MyDD. It raised about $23 million of funding between 2008 and 2011. In 2008, it brought on Jim Bankoff, formerly a product/programming executive at AOL, to serve as CEO. In 2012, Vox Media announced a fundraising round of $17 million, and it raised another $40 million in 2013, bringing its total investment to nearly $80 million.
Vox Media was formed at the launch of the Verge, which was initially largely staffed by former Engadget employees. Vox Media claimed that The Verge was “very profitable” after a year. It also launched a gaming site, Polygon, in October 2012 and bought Curbed, with its sites on dining, fashion, and real estate, in 2013. The following year, it brought in Ezra Klein, formerly of The Washington Post, to launch a new explanatory news site called Vox. Vox Media’s internal CMS, Chorus, is central to its strategy to unite its growing set of sites and was a key selling point for Klein. Vox also bought the collaborative publishing company Editorially in 2014 to incorporate into its work on Chorus.
It launched real-time story updates in 2009, and in June 2010, SB Nation began rolling out 20 regional sports sites covering all of the sports teams in a particular city. In March of 2011, it launched Baseball Nation, a national baseball site that operates under the leadership of sports journalist Rob Neyer, who left ESPN.com for the job. It began producing original web video for its own YouTube channel the following year as part of a broader Vox Media focus on video. In 2012, it redesigned its sites, uniting their appearance with standardized logo design
ESPN is a cable broadcaster that specializes in sports events, news and analysis. ESPN’s majority owner is the Walt Disney Co., which bought ESPN’s parent network, ABC, in 1995. Hearst Corp. owns a minority stake in the network. ESPN proclaims itself as the “worldwide leader in sports,” and it owns six cable channels, a biweekly…