PoolExpert Exits to Grow Rogers Sports Empire

Whereas many web startups dream of being acquired by Google or Microsoft, Toronto’s PoolExpert has exited with a north-of-the-border acquisition by Rogers Communications for an undisclosed amount.

The nine year old PoolExpert is a leading site for fantasy hockey, baseball, and Formula 1 pools. Being a Canadian site, hockey is their clear leader; Alexa stats show a dramatic traffic jump during the seven months of the NHL season. Why would Rogers buy a company when they could develop something in house?

For one, PoolExpert brings “hundreds of thousands” of users, and secondly, the site already has a viable business model, charging a small fee of $2 per person, per pool, in addition to running ads. The press release hints that PoolExpert will be folded into the existing sportsnet.ca. This acquisition adds to Rogers’ growing collection of sporting properties including the Sportsnet channels and website, The Fan sports radio in Toronto and Calgary, the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Rogers Centre in Toronto (formerly SkyDome).

It’s good to see an acquisition of a Canadian company by another Canadian company, and also good to see Canada’s big media players taking an interest in web properties. PoolExpert founders Ron Watson and Steve Hulford already have another venture underway: FileMobile, an “on-demand social media platform”, which ranks #108 on our Canada Start-up Index.

Fun Fact: The SkyDome was originally constructed in 1989 for about $600M, paid by municipal and provincial governments along with a group of companies. After years of financial problems, Rogers purchased the stadium in 2005 for only $25M; 4% of the original construction cost. Two punchlines: Hopefully PoolExpert got a better deal, and it would be nice if I could get an iPhone for 4% of the original cost.