SBD/26/Sports Media

SUPERBOWL.COM: A TEST IN BIG-EVENT ONLINE PRODUCTION

     The official Super Bowl site on the World Wide Web, produced
in a partnership by the NFL, NBC and Microsoft, is located at
superbowl.com.  Superbowl.com operators estimate that the site
received over 600,000 hits a day after the conference
championships and will average close to one million hits over the
final weekend.  Execs at both NBC and the NFL said they are
pleased with their results, despite the short start-up time for
development.
     BACKGROUND:  NBC Sports Senior VP/Programming Jon Miller
told THE DAILY that they saw the Web as a "blank screen."
Miller:  "We wanted to move the needle forward and were able to
use our great partnership with the NFL to create an even bigger
internet presence.  We wanted to push the envelope to find out
all we could."  Ann Kirschner, VP/NFL Enterprises, said the site
is the "most ambitions integration of a live event on the
internet," and said the league and now has a "nice growing
entity" on the Web where they "can hang a lot of multimedia" in
the future.
     POINT, CLICK ... AND CASH IN?  The site has the support of
eight advertisers, but is backed primarily by Microsoft, which
paid $225,000 for title sponsorship.  Sponsors: Cathay Pacific
Airlines, Visa, Time Warner, Ziff Davis, MCI Music Now, Sony,
Oscar Meyer, and MCI Marketplace.  Advertisers were given a
choice of paying either $100,000 for a banner or four cents every
time a browser hits the advertisers page.  According to Andrew
Batkin of Interactive Marketing, the firm in charge of selling
online ads, every sponsor has opted for the pay-per-visit route.
Batkin said even the sponsors "who haven't been affiliated with
the page for long will pay at least $25,000, so advertisers,
depending on their time with us will pay anywhere from $25,000
and up."  Miller said NBC has made money on the venture.  Miller:
"We are pleasantly surprised on the amount of interest shown by
advertisers.  NBC is doing quite well with this."  Kirschner
added, "We've hit our projections right on the button."
     NEXT YEAR, AND BEYOND:  Batkin said, if involved in a
similar project in '97, they would like more official NFL/Super
Bowl sponsors to participate.  But he did note the late start of
this year's effort, adding, "There was no history to the traffic
and no guarantee of what traffic would be like."  Kirschner said
the league is learning how sponsors gain value out of an online
presence, with the ideal future advertiser having a more
integrated, creative approach -- through links to their own Web
presence.  Batkin also predicted the trend will be for sponsors
to become more interactive and contextual on Web sites through
promotions and sweepstakes where sponsors can link and send
traffic to their own Web sites.  Miller said NBC will continue
its foray into sports cyberspace, with plans for a Web presence
with the NBA and professional golf (THE DAILY).
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Related Topics:

Microsoft, NBA, NBC, NFL, Media, Time Warner, Visa

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