Sports, travel sites lead Internet growth

Sports and travel sites continue to be the growth darlings of the Internet, with retail sports sites racking up a 30 percent gain in unique visitors in the US between May and June of this year.

Statistics from comScore Networks (http://www.comscore.com)an Internet use measurement company, indicate that the addition of eBay Sports contributed to the large growth in that category. Sports sites overall grew 17 percent.

The comScore report also showed that purchases made online for the second quarter of 2002 set a new record, gaining 41 percent compared with the previousyear to reach $17.5 billion. Online travel accounted for $7.8 billion, an increase of 46 percent compared with the previous year, while nontravel sales rose 28 percent for a total of $9.7 billion.

Part of the draw for sports sites, according to comScore, were such widely followed events as World Cup soccer, the U.S. Open, the NBA finals, and theWimbledon tennis matches. Fastest-growing sports sites from May 2002 to June 2002 were Yahoo Sports, which increased 83 percent to 9.2 million visitors; CNNSI, up 39 percent to 5.9 million; and Beckett.com, up 34percent to 337,000.

Despite a flagging economy, consumers still flocked to online travel sites. Traffic at both travel information sites and travel hotel sites increased 15percent. Travel sites overall saw a 13 percent growth.

Some of the leaders in the travel information sites from May to June 2002 were:

* www.floridavacationstore.com -- up 117 percent;* www.travelfleamarket.com -- up 76 percent; and* www.reserveamerica.com -- up 67 percent.

Fast-growing hotel sites included:

* www.hotels.com -- up 109 percent;

* www.holidayinn.com -- up 77 percent; and* www.hotellocators.com -- up 44 percent.

The top dogs still dominate the list of most visitedsites. Among the top 10 in unique visitors were:

* AOL Time Warner network - 95.1 million.

* MSN-Microsoft - 86.0 million.

* Yahoo sites - 76.8 million.

* Terra Lycos - 39.6 million.

* About/Primedia - 33.6 million.

* Google - 33.5 million.

* eBay - 32.9 million.

* Amazon sites - 285 million.

* Classmates.com - 23.8 million.

* Walt Disney Internet Group - 23.5 million.

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