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SUN MICROSYSTEMS HELPING TO MOVE SPORTS INTO INFORMATION AGE
Published May 26, 1995
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.