June 21, 2005

NFL Looks Into Video For Mobile Phones

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- The National Football League said on Monday that it has been in discussions with a number of large U.S. wireless providers about delivering video clips of game highlights to mobile phones.

It is close to clinching a five-year deal with Sprint with an initial value of $200 million and the potential to increase to $600 million including ad revenue, according to a report on Monday in the trade paper SportsBusiness Journal.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy would not comment on the story but said the organization aims to have an exclusive carrier agreement in place to deliver game highlights to mobile phones in time for the football season beginning in September.

"We do not have a deal in place," said McCarthy. "We have been in discussions with a number of the major players in the wireless industry."

Sprint declined comment on the story. It already delivers live audio coverage of football league games to its mobile phones and has sponsored the Kansas City Chiefs football team for 10 years.

Mobile phone companies hope to boost their revenue beyond voice services by offering media such as video clips and music to wireless customers. Wireless represents a new distribution route for content providers such as the NFL.

The NFL's McCarthy said the owners of the 32 NFL teams agreed last week that the league would take care of the distribution of video highlights to phones.


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