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MVP.com Takes a Called Strike

Sports information company SportsLine.com Inc. , publisher of CBS SportsLine.com, terminated its agreement with MVP.com Inc., saying the sports e-commerce company is "overdue" on its scheduled payment for the fourth quarter.

MVP.com, which "helps individuals achieve their personal best in sports and outdoor activities," markets sporting goods merchandise and apparel.

Is the company striking out?

"No, we actually are doing well, sales have been steadily increasing since the summer," spokeswoman Paula Davis told InternetNews.com.

"We have been renegotiating the portal agreement (with SportsLine.com) and to date those negotiations have not been successfully resolved." She would not elaborate, except to say that the bulk of the company's revenues come from its flagship site and other venues.

The sports e-commerce company was founded in 1999 and boasts an advisory board that includes Michael Jordan, John Elway and Wayne Gretsky. It has operated the e-commerce site for SportsLine.com since January 2000.

SportsLine.com said its termination of the agreement was "due to MVP.com's breach of certain provisions of the agreement. Negotiations for a restructuring of the agreement were unsuccessful."

"As we stated during our quarterly earnings announcement, we are very confident that we will be able to continue to capitalize on our large user base and reach another e-commerce partnership agreement in the very near future," said Michael Levy, founder and CEO of SportsLine.com. "We have millions of sports enthusiasts visiting our site each month that are predisposed to purchasing sporting goods ..."

Davis said that privately held MVP.com has had no performance-based layoffs and in fact "expects to be cash-flow positive by the fourth quarter of 2001."

SportsLine said that "until a new agreement is in place, SportsLine.com users will continue to have the ability to purchase merchandise on the site." Davis said the transition will be seamless to customers.