NFL Going to Internet With Radio

Tuesday, October 3rd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Radio broadcasts of NFL games will be available on the Internet through a deal between the league and Yahoo! Beginning Sunday, about 90 percent of teams' local radio broadcasts will be promoted on Yahoo! and heard on or team sites. The league and the Internet company will share revenues.

The deal was announced Tuesday as NFL executives tour the Silicon Valley to explore new high-tech partnerships. On Monday, the league and eBay Inc. said they would soon auction NFL memorabilia online together.

``We just want to make certain that we stay on top of all the innovations in technology and services and make them available to our fans,'' said commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

Tagliabue said the league's online presence helps promote football overseas — where the NFL is already experimenting with showing telecasts of games on the Internet, something prohibited under the league's North American TV contracts.

The league is also looking at ways to increase online chats with players and possibly broadcast practices, he said.

``If you look at the Internet as being the front stoop in the new form of community for the nation,'' Tagliabue said, ``part of what we're looking at here is how do you make into the equivalent of the players' parking lot outside the stadium,'' where fans gather for a close look at the athletes.

Five teams are excluded from the new Yahoo! deal. The Minnesota Vikings have their own Webcasting radio arrangement, and the Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and New York Giants are on stations owned by Infinity Broadcasting Corp., which prohibits Web transmission of its broadcasts, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

Sean Brenner, a sports marketing analyst and managing editor of the Chicago-based IEG Sponsorship Report, said the NFL wants to find a way to make money by capturing more of the time that fans spend online checking statistics, updating their fantasy league teams and buying merchandise.