GOOD SPORT

In the eight years since he founded the company that’s now SportsLine.com, Michael Levy formed a groundbreaking exclusive promotional agreement with CBS Sports and inked deals to produce official Web sites for the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the PGA Tour, and individual athletes such as Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. American Way caught up with him to find out why his Internet-based company is thriving when so many online ventures have failed.

AW: How and why has SportsLine.com been successful online?
LEVY:
The first thing we did was focus on sports only on the Internet. The second thing we did was spend a lot of time forging relationships with the leagues. The third thing is, we’ve always raised more money than we thought we needed. And we hired a focused management team before a lot of managers left traditional businesses hoping to make a million dollars on the Internet. Our man- agers came here because they believed in what we were doing, and they’re still with us today.

AW: What’s one of the most important lessons you’ve learned about business?
LEVY:
Raise plenty of cash and stay focused.

AW: Why are fantasy sports important to SportsLine.com?
LEVY:
The Internet has revolutionized fantasy sports. A group of people choose team members from a league — football, baseball, or basketball — to create a set of fantasy teams. On the Internet they can see instantly, while the games are taking place, how their players are doing. People are on our site all during the games, and that’s good for advertisers.

AW: What does the future hold?
LEVY:
A lot of growth. Many sports fans are coming on the Internet for the first time. We believe there will come a day when just about everyone who watches a Super Bowl will check SportsLine.com to see what’s going on around the game. The audiences will be tremendous.