SBJ/July 30 - August 5, 2007/This Weeks News

WMG dives into pool for live webcast

USA Swimming will become the first of three national governing bodies in a partnership with Wasserman Media Group to webcast an event live with the agency this week.

The 2007 ConocoPhilips USA Swimming National Championships will air over five nights on a test Web site (www.usaswimming.sportnet.com) beginning July 31. The site will be promoted on both WMG’s sportnet.com and usaswimming.org.

Sportnet.com will webcast this week’s USA Swimming
National Championships as part of its deal with WMG.

In April, USA Swimming, USA Track & Field and USA Gymnastics agreed to license their media, event and marketing rights to WMG in exchange for the creation of three stand-alone Web sites that will promote each NGB’s sport. Those sites are expected to feature a significant amount of live event content.

Though those sites are still being developed by WMG, this will be the first broadcast aired by an NGB and the agency since the agreement was signed, and it offers a glimpse of what the new partnership may lead to in the future.

“We’re really excited about getting going, but this event doesn’t take advantage of everything we’re going to be doing with future events,” said Luke McDonough, CEO of Sportnet.

McDonough said WMG plans to record the event and share it with potential corporate partners in the future when the agency begins to sell the programming and partnership opportunities with the NGBs.

WMG plans to create three Web portals on its online network, sportnet.com, this fall where it can show similar live events in the future. Those sites will offer not only live events, but also social networking, interviews with athletes and stories on the sports, McDonough said.

USA Swimming is spending $55,000 on the production of the National Championships as part of shared expenses for the governing body and WMG. Lingner Group Productions of Indianapolis will have six cameras filming the action.

This broadcast will air for free and will include some advertising. Future broadcasts will feature heavier advertising.

When WCSN broadcast the 2006 USA Swimming National Championships, the Web channel attracted more than 50,000 viewers over three nights of coverage. Mike Unger, assistant executive director of USA Swimming, hopes this broadcast tops that and believes it’s possible with Michael Phelps competing.

Unger hopes WMG and USA Swimming will collaborate on four to six live webcasts each year.

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