Thursday, June 29, 2000
ESPN Internet Group and NBA extend NBA.com and WNBA.com relations
ESPN Internet Group (EIG), part of GO.com (NYSE:GO), and the National Basketball Association have signed a multi-year deal renewing their long-term NBA.com and WNBA.com relationships, it was announced today. EIG has co-produced with NBA Entertainment the official NBA site since its launch in 1995 and the official WNBA site since its 1997 launch. After a transition period beginning in October 2000, the NBA will assume responsibility for the production of NBA.com and WNBA.com.
Components of the agreement include:
Extensive cross-promotion and cross-programming between the league sites and ESPN.com;
Daily NBA and WNBA video clips on ESPN.com;
Exclusive NBA and WNBA data feeds on ESPN.com, including Courtside Live and GameStats real-time statistics and graphics applications;
ESPN.com-generated NBA news on NBA.com;
Continued production by EIG of Virtual GM, NBA.com's free fantasy game;
Special NBA-produced daily audio feature on ESPN.com;
NBA.com and WNBA.com digital photography rights for ESPN.com;
Ability for ESPN.com users to purchase game tickets via NBA.com;
Rights granted to EIG to NBA marks and player names for ESPN.com's premium fantasy game.
"We are very pleased to continue our relationship with the NBA; we've been together since the beginning," said John Skipper, senior vice president and general manager, ESPN Internet Group. "We are able to offer their leagues' sites phenomenal promotion, content and technology that will enable NBA.com and WNBA.com to remain on the cutting edge of sports sites."
"ESPN Internet Group has been a great partner in helping us develop NBA.com and WNBA.com," said Ed Desser, President, NBA New Media and Television Ventures. "We are excited to continue our valued relationship with EIG and bring our fans worldwide the most comprehensive online coverage of the NBA and WNBA."
Since 1995, EIG and the NBA have worked together to make NBA.com one of the top five most trafficked sports sites and WNBA.com the most popular women's sports league on the Internet. NBA.com averaged more than 800,000 daily visitors throughout the NBA Finals 2000 and is regarded as the "Best League Site" (Brill's Content, April 2000; and Yahoo! Internet Life, July 1999). WNBA.com has shattered traffic records this season, attracting 279,000 visitors for the opening week of the 2000 WNBA Season and was recently honored with a 2000 Gracie Allen Award.
ESPN Internet Group is part of GO.com (NYSE:GO), the Internet business of The Walt Disney Company. GO.com manages some of the Internet's most popular Web sites, including the GO.com portal as well as ABC.com, ABCNEWS.com, ABCSports.com, Disney.com, Disneystore.com, DisneyTravel.com, Family.com, ESPN.com, EXPN.com, Movies.com, Mr. Showbiz, NFL.com, NASCAR Online and Soccernet. Steven M. Bornstein is the chairman of GO.com, which is headquartered in North Hollywood, California, with operations in Sunnyvale, California, Seattle, New York, Bristol, Connecticut, and London.
The NBA is composed of 29 teams in the United States and Canada and is the model for professional sports in league operations, public service and global marketing. NBA games and programming are broadcast to 205 countries in 42 languages. NBA Entertainment (NBAE) -- the Emmy Award-winning production and programming division of the NBA and WNBA -- is one of the largest suppliers of sports television and Internet programming in the world. NBAE produces NBA.com TV, the NBA's 24-hour television network, and several weekly television shows, and creates exclusive content for NBA.com, WNBA.com, the 29 team sites of the NBA and the 16 team sites of the WNBA. For more information on the NBA, visit www.nba.com.
The WNBA began its fourth season on Monday, May 29, 2000. The league, which attracted over 2 million fans during 1999, will expand from 12 to 16 teams this season, with additional teams in Indiana, Miami, Portland and Seattle. For more information on the WNBA, visit the web site at www.wnba.com.