It was only a matter of time...right? Going back to last fall, it seemed like we received an email or press package on a weekly basis from either a start up organization or major media company that decided to enter to the online arena to cover high school sports. While many of these upstart properties received favorable media attention and lots and lots of venture dollars thrown their way, for the past six months or so, the space seemed to cool down considerably as many hunkered down and tried to execute their business plans and secure ad dollars to validate their respective strategies. I'd have to think one of the cautionary points listed in all of these business plans was an aggressive move by the true undisputed king of sports media, ESPN, of course into HS sports. The caution is now a reality. Last week, ESPN quietly announced the formation of ESPN Rise, a new multimedia franchise for the home of high school sports. Unlike many of the other players in the space, ESPN enters with a slew properties and buying options for advertisers. Later this summer, ESPN will unveil ESPNRISE.com, its online hub for HS Sports featuring social networking applications and content from several brands and partners including Scouts. On the magazine front, the worldwide leader in sports has put all of its niche titles including Gridiron all under the Rise franchise and will have a reported combined circulation of one million. On the on-air front, Rise will work with ESPN's college outpost, ESPNU with an expectation of a possible spin-off if there is traction. With almost immediate scale and the backing of the leading sports media brand, the inevitable shake out in the HS sports space probably just got moved up by a year and the emphasis will be shifted back to the upstarts like Takkle, beRecruited and others to show some immediate results.