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Good for them. SB Nation is the type of company we should all be rooting for: lean (on the production side, at least; tough to say what they’re spending on sales and marketing), smart, valuable — and in the news sector, no less. This deal should help them get some added traffic and SEO juice, and puts them in a good position to make similar deals with other big sites:

Posts from its 29 hockey blogs now appear as linked headlines on the homepage of NHL.com. CEO Jim Bankoff, a former AOL executive, tells me that he is in discussions with other major sports leagues for similar link deals…

SB Nation pulls together what amounts to local sports coverage under a single advertising umbrella (although professional teams have fans everywhere). The wider it can distribute links in places where sports fans might gather online, the more readers it should be able to expose to its various blogs. Last year, SB Nation raised $5 million from Accel Partners, Allen & Company, and Leonsis.

SB Nation is a pretty good example of why you don’t need a massive news bureau and budget to create quality content. The internet is hurting traditional revenue models, but it also allows for incredibly low-cost structures. SBN has leveraged this to a tee, buying already-successful blogs in exchange for equity, and sharing ad revenue. Eventually, their bloggers will have a presence in press boxes, and you can bet they’ll be sharing quotes and stories with each other.

Lots of people are worried that journalism will die once there are no more printed newspapers or magazines. But it’s companies like SB Nation, Baseball Prospectus, the Huffington Post, TechCrunch, the Business Insider, and countless others that make this point moot. The economics are certainly changing — news outlets will never be able to monopolize local advertising again. But the sheer volume of choices is going to drive quality up, even if the companies themselves are making less than their predecessors.

Feedback? Write a comment, or e-mail the author at shawn(AT)squawkingbaseball.com

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