Fox Sports Site Sets Sights on PPV

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Following its successful Sept. 2 college-football Webcast, FOXSports.com will look to offer more live sports programming via the Internet, possibly on a pay-per-view basis.

FOXSports.com executives were pleased with its inaugural live Webcast of the Nebraska-San Jose State college-football game. Although it's too early to know exactly how many Internet users viewed the free game, FOXSports.com executives said the site experienced record traffic throughout the day.

The site garnered broadcast rights to the game after sister cable service Fox Sports Net passed on it.

FOXSports.com senior vice president Danny Greenberg said the Webcast of the game, which Nebraska won 49-13, was a major development for the site. While the company has offered live streaming video of high-school athletics and several college-football team press conferences, the game marked the company's first foray into offering national, marquee games.

"This was a milestone and a first step for us," Greenberg added.

FOXSports.com is currently talking with several content providers about obtaining rights to other college-football games this year, Greenberg said. He added that future video-streamed games could carry a $2 to $4 PPV charge in an effort to help cover Webcast costs, which run around $20,000.

PPV "is certainly something that we'll look to do in the future," Greenberg said. "I would feel confident that people would pay for an event they want to see and can't get anywhere else."

While video quality for the Webcasts varies depending on the speed of the user's modem-a videocast through a cable modem would look pretty clear, while one sent through a 56-kilobit-per-second dial-up modem would offer choppy video-Greenberg said fans would look to the Internet if they can't find the game on television.

But he added that the site would not enter any bidding wars with regional or national sports networks for rights to live games.

"We couldn't go head-to-head with the networks, which are paying billions and billions of dollars for their rights," he said.

In other event video-streaming news, Internet content provider PayForView.com has secured the exclusive worldwide Internet rights to the Sept. 22 Ultimate Fighting Championship event.

PayForView.com, which has distributed other UFC events in the past, will offer parallel content-including fighter bios, pictures, statistics and related trivia-released at select moments during the live show. A free chat room will also be offered and hosted by a surprise UFC personality, PayForView.com senior consultant Sid Amira said.

"Our first live pay-for-view programming event was a UFC match, and we are proud to have gained the rights to this impressive competition," Amira added.

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