SBD/26/Sports Industrialists

SUN MICROSYSTEMS HELPING TO MOVE SPORTS INTO INFORMATION AGE

     This week, Sun Microsystems joined the Sharks and the San
Jose Arena in an effort to build their Home Pages on the World
Wide Web into a pair of "the most popular and technically
advanced sports and entertainment web sites on the Internet."
Yesterday, THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY spoke with Sun Microsystems
Dir of Marketing Services Michael Douglas about their foray into
sports and what the Internet, specifically the Web, has to offer
companies, franchises, or leagues in terms of marketing.
Excerpts follow:
     THE DAILY:  What is Sun looking to accomplish through these
sports-related endeavors?
     DOUGLAS:  Sports is an entertainment field that has an
absolutely huge following.  We have found that if you can apply
technology to it, if you are able to show the applications and
what technology can do in a way that is pertinent and meaningful
to people, they are able to stand back and go, "Ah, now I get
it."  Sports is one of those few endeavors that gives you this
type of showcase to take technology from what some people see as
in the ozone layer and bring it down to something as practical as
what you would see on your television set on a Saturday
afternoon.
     THE DAILY:  Do you have any plans to take your arrangement
with the Sharks to other franchises or leagues?
     DOUGLAS:  Yes we do.  We are dealing with a company out of
Minneapolis which has a contract with the National Hockey League
to sponsor all Internet services and web sites, so through them
we will be getting involved with the National Hockey League.  We
are also looking at other leagues and franchises in other sports.
We sponsored One Australia in the America's Cup this past year,
we are doing work right now in providing technology in automotive
racing.
     THE DAILY: What can organizations look to gain from opening
a web site on the Internet?
     DOUGLAS: By way of example, let's talk about the Sharks.
The principle reason for us to get involved with the Sharks was -
- in talking with Sharks' management -- they had a pretty far-
reaching view of their charter.  They have a global charter and
see themselves doing things beyond the walls of the San Jose
Arena.  That was pretty intriguing to us.  Another reason were
their stated goals of wanting to be the most popular team in
hockey, worldwide, and to have the most frequently visited and
innovative web site worldwide.  They are able to foresee using
networking outside of their own facility to go beyond the popular
media and have intimate contact with all of their fans -- not
just words on a computer screen, but sound and video where people
can, for instance, order up their own instant replays.  They are
also interested in arena sales and selling entertainment.
     THE DAILY:  How does this venture affect a team's bottom
line?  And do you see advertising becoming a large presence on
the Internet?
     DOUGLAS:  This is very inexpensive and we have found it is a
very simple matter to get your home page and your site sponsored,
or as a matter of fact, have a variety of sponsors.  One can
structure up a variety of buttons on a home page and have each
one sponsored by a different company.  The great thing is that
you can count the number of hits and you can figure
demographically who is hitting your home page, so when it comes
to being able to show the value to a sponsor, it is quite easy to
do.  It does not cost as much money as people think to set these
things up.  People think we are talking hundreds of thousands of
dollars.  But someone can be up and running, with equipment costs
and set-up costs, for like in the tens of thousands.
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