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Online sports sites enjoy increased usage, especially among women

Nielsen Online has reported a 26 percent increase in unique visitors logging on to sports Web sites from their office, growing from 33.4 million visitors in August 2007 to 42.3 million visitors in August 2008. The increase was driven, Nielsen said, in large part by the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the kickoff of football season., the network’s custom Web site, attracted significant traffic at work during the month, reaching 20 percent of the active at-work Web population, slightly more than 13.8 million visitors. The breadth of Olympics content that NBC provided online contributed to people not only visiting the Web site but also staying for extended periods of time, with the average visitor spending 57 minutes and 7 seconds over the course of the month.

The number of female visitors in August grew 37 percent, compared to the same period in 2007, outpacing the percent increase in male visitors by 76 percent. The number of women increased from 12 million with an audience composition percentage of 36 percent in August 2007 to 16.4 million visitors and an audience composition percentage of 39 percent in August 2008.

Yahoo! Sports was the No. 1 online sports destination at work in August 2008, with 18.7 million visitors, growing 112 percent year-over-year. ESPN and FOX Sports on MSN took the No. 2 and 3 spots, with 11.9 million visitors and 7.7 million visitors, respectively. Among the top 10 sports sites, Fantasy Sports Ventures Network was the fastest growing, increasing 285 percent from 1 million visitors to 3.9 million in August 2008.