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WEDNESDAY WEB SITES OF THE WEEK
Published March 13, 1996
The most successful sports-related ventures on the World Wide Web have been related to big-ticket events -- and the NCAA basketball tournament is one of the biggest. The intense interest and fast pace of the early rounds is a perfect match for the real-time nature of the medium, with the interactive draw of filling out a tournament pool also a natural. The top sports online services seem to have figured this out, as all have major tournament sites. 1) ESPNET's SportsZone has the "Tournament Challenge," presented by Pizza Hut. The winner gets a trip to next year's Final Four. The Zone's site -- found at http:// ESPNET.sportszone.com -- also has in-depth reports on each of the 64 teams. 2) SportsLine USA has its "March Medley" contest with a $1,000 cash prize to the winner. There are also team reports for subscribers. Address: http://www. sportsline.com. 3) The Sports Network will unveil its live Java Sportswire during the tournament bringing constantly updated scores ticker-style. Address: http://www. sportsnetwork.com. 4) CBS has a March Madness site with its own pool -- "The Final Four Challenge," sponsored by Microsoft. Other features at http://www.CBS.com/sports/ marchmadness are a trivia quiz, the "virtual pressroom" with news releases and background info, and a fan poll. 5) CNN's sports site -- http://www.cnn.com/sports/index.html --leads with the final NCAA poll and has a front-page button for its tourney site. Inside are stories and the brackets. 6) USA Today has a special section -- "The Big Dance" -- found at http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketba/sktfront. The main feature is a coaches forum -- including Rick Pitino and Roy Williams -- with answers posted tonight. 7) For "personalized" e-mail updates on the games and your favorite teams, head to Mercury Mail Inc.'s "It's Madness" site at http://www.merc.com/madness.html (THE DAILY).