AOL Pumps Up Football Offering

AOL today unveiled new interactive features available in its package of professional football content for broadband subscribers.

In addition to game-by-game highlights, preview shows and other National Football League video content available as part of the $24.95 AOL for Broadband package of content and services for cable modem and DSL users, AOL has launched “GameBreakers,” which allows members to vote for the top play of the week from video highlights available for online viewing each Monday.

“Football fans are as passionate about their sport as anyone, and NFL on AOL has a wealth of the content for fans, from the die-hard fanatic to the casual viewer,” said Carlos Silva, SVP of news and sports. “What we want to do with NFL on AOL is give fans an opportunity to enjoy football in a unique and engaging way and access the information they need from one easy place.”

AOL Sports also launched an interactive daily sports radio program, “The Show,” hosted by former NFL kicker Jess Atkinson. Members can ask questions of hosts and guests via IM, email, or by phone.

AOL first offered NFL content to broadband subscribers last year, when it began delivering game-by-game video highlights, preview shows, and other NFL video content. The company makes it easy for users to create a blog about their favorite team, join discussions in chat rooms and on message boards, or join a fantasy sports league.

Online sports content is a large and growing market that is especially attractive to advertisers looking to court the coveted 18 to 35 year-old male demographic. According to Comscore Media Metrix, 50 million Americans visited a sports site in May 2004. The online sports audience represents 32 percent of the total Internet population and 36 percent of the at-work Internet population.

AOL targets the AOL for Broadband service, launched in March 2003, to users who already have a basic high-speed Internet connection through their cable or DSL provider, but want the additional rich content the service offers.

AOL Sports has deals with all the other major sports leagues, including Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League. It also offers content from professional tennis, golf and NASCAR auto racing.

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