NFL AND ESPN INTERNET DEAL SEEN AS "MATURATION OF INTERNET"
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).