SBJ/May 28 - June 3, 2007/Media

Sportskool looks to broaden audience with Flutie video

Doug Flutie is hosting instructional video that will be part of Rainbow Media's video-on-demand offering called Sportskool.

Accelerade has signed on to sponsor Flutie’s
videos on how to be a better quarterback.

Earlier this month, Flutie shot six 15-minute videos about the strategy and tactics used in being a quarterback. The videos will launch Aug. 7 and will be available free to certain digital cable subscribers for several months through football season. Sportskool is available in 23 million digital homes, thanks to deals Rainbow has signed with the biggest cable operators, including sister company Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner and Charter.

Accelerade sports drink has signed on to sponsor Flutie's videos. Network officials would not disclose the value of the sponsorship deal, but it is believed to be on par with a mid-six-figure sponsorship deal DaimlerChrysler's Jeep signed for Sportskool's action sports programming in March.

Deal terms will allow Accelerade to have a preroll message before the video and to be featured in graphics packages.

Sportskool wanted to add more football instruction programming after the success last year of former linebacker Stephen Boyd's video-on-demand show, which consistently placed in the top three for the service, behind basketball and conditioning videos.

“We want to take our football programming to the next step, and focusing on the quarterback was the best way to do it,” said Dan Ronayne, the service's executive vice president and general manager. “We know that football is the game, and we want to tap into that audience.”

Ronayne predicts the Flutie episodes will generate more interest than Boyd’s, due to the former quarterback's popularity. “He will bring in more average football fans who want to get his insight,” he said. “We have a real marketing opportunity with Flutie.”

The three-day shoot took place at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., starting May 14.

In one of the episodes, Flutie was paired with Gerard Phelan, the former Boston College wide receiver who caught Flutie's famed 1984 Hail Mary pass to beat Miami. The two recreated the pass during the video, completing it on the first attempt.

Another episode will feature instruction on playing with autistic and special-needs kids, an important topic for Flutie, whose son was diagnosed with autism. In 1998, Flutie and his wife founded the nonprofit Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism.

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