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WHAT'S UP ON THE WEB? THE NFL GOES IT ALONE
Published September 1, 1995
John Helyar examines the sports presences on the World Wide Web, summing up the current state of affairs by noting that ESPNET's SportsZone has only one advertiser, Gatorade. Helyar writes, "Lots of content but little revenue; lots of potential future multimedia breakthroughs but some maddening present-day technological flaws; lots of players in this brave new world but few likely winners." Gene DeRose, who heads the online research firm, Jupiter Communications: "This is a medium that's even more conducive to sports than television. In terms of statistics, up- to-the-minute scores, and ability to focus in on the specific players and teams, it's just made for the very focused attention of fans." The following players have aligned: ESPN-Starwave- Microsoft; SportsLine USA-IMG; Baseball-MCI, the NHL-America Online, and the NBA said to be "SportsZone bound." But the NFL has chosen the independent route (the NFLPA is working with SportsLine). The NFL's "Team NFL," which does have promotional partnerships with SportsZone and Time Warner's Pathfinder, will offer play-by-play progress reports on each game -- a feature the league "promises to zealously reserve for itself and bar other sports services from transmitting." NFL Enterprises VP Ann Kirschner, who is heading Team NFL: "As a programmer, you have much more flexibility this way; you look how you choose to look" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/1).