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MFFL
07-10-2001, 08:22 PM
NFL connects with Internet deal
Contract with SportsLine will be largest in industry
07/10/2001
By Richard Alm
The Dallas Morning News

The National Football League will announce this week that it has reached an agreement on the most lucrative Internet deal in sports history a $110 million agreement with media heavyweights AOL Time Warner Inc., Viacom Inc. and SportsLine.com Inc.

The value of the five-year contract rises with the addition of promotions and other services worth $225 million to $250 million, said a person familiar with the deal, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

David Carter, a principal in Los Angeles Sports Business Group, a marketing consultant, said no other sports league could have commanded as much money from Internet rights.

"Everybody understands that if you can get involved with the NFL, it will be very profitable and help you in business development," he said.

Over the past year or so, firings, cutbacks and bankruptcies have hit the Internet sector hard. In this environment, a deal providing cash payments for Internet rights shows the power of the NFL in the sports marketplace.

"Certainly, the cash is nice, given what's going on in Internet sports these days," the person said.

The Dallas Cowboys and the NFL's 31 other teams will retain the rights to their own Internet sites, and they will share in the revenue from the new online deal.

Among sports sites, NFL.com ranks third behind ESPN.com and SportsLine.com in Internet traffic, leading all other leagues in attracting fans to its online offerings. The site reached a peak with 7.5 million unique visitors in October.

SportsLine will take over production and advertising sales for NFL.com and Superbowl.com,replacing ESPN Internet Group. It had been the NFL's Internet partner for the last three years, a deal valued at $10 million.

SportsLine already provides content to AOL, which reaches 30 million Internet users. It would join Viacom, which owns CBS television network and 20 percent of SportsLine, in heavily promoting the NFL Internet sites.

The NFL and the three companies will share in revenue generated by advertising and merchandise sales on the NFL Web sites. AOL and SportsLine will get the right to use NFL content on their Internet sites.

djb
07-10-2001, 08:26 PM
Hopefully they'll get rid of the current NFL.com design i/expressions/face-icon-small-disgusted.gif I liked the previous design a lot better, but heard the NFL decided to switch development companies or something.

Flying Tiger
07-11-2001, 10:31 PM
I liked the old detroits lion independent site...but know it just takes me to the NFL.com/lions site. It sux!