LAS VEGAS, Nev., Jan. 21, 2013 -- Is a picture still worth a thousand words? In the sports data industry, it's certainly worth a thousand stats. Images are indispensable to fans and publishers alike -- which is why XML Team Solutions is expanding again.
On Monday at the Fantasy Sports Trade Association's winter conference, sports content provider XML Team Solutions announced its acquisition of photo wire service provider Icon Sports Media, Inc. Since 1999, Icon has produced cutting-edge images for use in newspapers, magazines, websites, and ad agencies around the globe. Icon's image library is fed from tens of thousands of major professional and amateur sporting events each year, a reach that has enabled the company to build an archive of millions of photos.
"Our excellent relationship with Icon has spanned several years already, so this is a natural progression for us," said XML Team President Alan Karben. "Their unique mix of quality and variety of sports images -- in all the different arenas we need to cover -- will help XML Team keep growing in the competitive sports content industry."
Icon photos have appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated 19 times, and within other such prominent publications as The Sporting News, USA Today, ESPN the Magazine, People, Forbes, and more. Icon Sports Media will complement XML Team's Sports Forecaster division, which publishes and licenses detailed player profiles and analysis to publications around the world. The Sports Forecaster also publishes annual league preview and fantasy sports guides, with their NHL preview a best-seller on newsstands across Canada.
As part of the company's new identity, Icon Sports Media will, in the Spring, roll out a new corporate identity and homepage, where customers will soon be able to search for current and archival images, and to subscribe to delivered feeds of images of interest. During this transition, their current iconsportsmedia.com website will still offer all images.
"We're extremely excited to join XML Team," said Icon's president and co-founder, Jamie Calsyn. "Their technologies have always been an industry-leader, and their player bios are the best in the business. That's going to be a huge benefit to our clients."
Icon's other co-founder, Tim Curlee, added that the agency will also be able to provide more advanced technological tracking and accounting systems to its huge network of photographers. "Our sports shooters know that Icon is one of the friendliest and most reliable agencies to work with," Curlee said, "and we look forward to making those relationships even closer using XML Team's programming know-how."
Karben recalled how he and Calsyn first met at a Fantasy Sports Trade Association conference several years ago, and immediately saw many opportunities to cooperate. "Icon's staff, and the way they work with their photographers and clients, are a great fit for us," he said. "They love sports, and they're eager to serve clients ranging from the largest media firms down to the smallest of startups." Karben is on the FSTA Board of Directors, and has been attending FSTA shows for 10 years.
Founded in 1999 by former Getty Images veterans Jamie Calsyn and Tim Curlee, Icon Sports Media has been at the forefront of the monumental transition from film to digital photography. During the Super Bowl in 2000, an Icon photographer took the first digital photograph ever to run as a double-page spread in Sports Illustrated. Today, Icon Sports Media provides content to print, online, mobile, and interactive TV platforms, and has syndication partners in Europe and Asia.
XML Team's syndicated feeds cover all major North American sports leagues and events, as well as top European soccer leagues, and their library of international sources has grown every year. Behind all XML Team's delivery options lie cutting-edge and industrial grade technology, aimed to shrink the development time that clients need to get up and running with dynamic sports content.
XML Team's Sports Forecaster division has been publishing player and team analysis since 1995, under the Sports Forecaster brand, as well as via syndication licenses to publications and websites across North America. XML Team's Fantasy Sports Services division has been providing private-labeled fantasy game services to top brands since 1989.
The Fantasy Sports Trade Association was founded in 1997 to provide a forum for interaction between hundreds of existing and emerging companies in a unique and growing fantasy sports industry. The FSTA provides timely research, networking opportunities, educational events and opportunities for exposure in the growing fantasy sports marketplace, and has compiled years of research data, spanning nearly every area of interest for member businesses.