USA's HSN Unit to Hawk NFL Goods


New York-The National Football League will begin hawking NFL merchandise and memorabilia on Home Shopping Network this fall through a deal announced last Monday with HSN parent USA Networks Inc.

ESPN's Monday Night Countdown-the pregame show for ABC's Monday Night Football-will face competition from a new HSN program called NFL Shop.

HSN will distribute NFL Shop every Monday at 8 p.m. during the season, leading into ABC's MNF. The live, one-hour program-which will "originate from tailgate parties created for fans at the home stadiums" - will pitch NFL products with the help of NFL players as guests, according to the league.

The NFL also plans to distribute shorter NFL Shop segments through its television partners-CBS Corp., Fox Broadcasting Co., ABC Inc. and ESPN.

The league will use the promotional time the networks allocate to it, or it will buy advertising time from the networks to distribute the NFL Shop segments, senior vice president of marketing and fan development Howard Handler said.

USA's electronic-commerce and services division will handle customer service for the NFL, and it will also develop a football-fan database for e-commerce marketing.

The USA-NFL deal-which is similar to an agreement USA struck earlier this year with the National Basketball Association-runs for three years.