Yahoo Buys Fantasy Sports Outfit Citizen Sports

Internet giant Yahoo might still be struggling to get back on its feet following the financial backlash of its takeover sideswipe from Microsoft, but that’s apparently not crimping the company’s urges to buy up smaller firms: Yahoo announced today that it is buying fantasy sports outfit Citizen Sports. Yahoo touts the acquisition as bringing together the top online sports destination—presumably, Yahoo Sports—with a top social sports company. Citizen Sports is known for bringing fantasy sports to social networking services and mobile devices, as well as letting sports fans tap into the latest scores and sports news.

Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed; Yahoo expects the acquisition to be complete by June.

“Yahoo is in a unique position to combine our deep expertise in content and aggregation technology to offer a highly personalized social experience,” said Yahoo Consumer Products Group senior VP Bryan Lamkin, in a statement. “Sports has been among the earliest online categories to experience rapid social proliferation, and the combination of Citizen Sports leading products with our world-class sports experience on Yahoo! Sports is a win-win.”

Yahoo hopes to leverage Citizen Sports to broaden its social networking offerings—Yahoo has recently been making itself over to bring social content to the surface of its sites, although historically the company has been slow to capitalize on the social networking trend even though it has huge audiences for news, financial, entertainment, and sports information. In some ways that’s not too surprising—few companies are yet to earn much money in social networking—but Yahoo clearly doesn’t want to be left behind. Citizen Sports also makes mobile applications for the iPhone and Android platforms.

Incidentally, Citizen Sports was co-founded by Jeff Ma, a member of the MIT team whose card-counting in Las Vegas spawned the (fictionalized) book Bringing Down the House and the recent film adaption 21.

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