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NFL AND ESPN INTERNET DEAL SEEN AS "MATURATION OF INTERNET"
Published May 27, 1998
The NFL "is expected to announce an agreement" today with Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN Internet Group to produce the NFL.com, according to Stefan Fatsis of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Sources "familiar" with the deal said that ESPN will pay "close to" $10M over three years, extending a two- year-old relationship with the league. Fatsis writes that while the deal "is a fraction" of the NFL's TV deal, it is "revenue from a medium that one day could yield big money" and "far exceeds" the approximately $1M the NFL received over the last two years for its Web site deal (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/27). Jay Sherman of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER writes that the deal "could mark a pivotal point in the maturation of the Internet" as it "involved a bidding war between at least two Web shops and carried with it a fairly high price tag." Sherman puts the deal at $10-12M, and writes that SportsLine USA and Fox's News America "bowed out" of talks, "believing contract terms made it difficult to make money on the deal" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 5/27).