Turner Sports is playing for keeps in the broadband-video arena. Last week, it cut a deal to distribute more than 500 Olympics-type events from the Atlantic Coast Conference via a new broadband site www.accselect.com.
Turner was also scheduled on Sept. 22 to stream coverage of NBC’s Ryder Cup golf tournament as part of a broadband package on the Turner-owned RyderCup.com Web site. The Ryder Cup site, as well as ACCselect.com, are part of Turner Sports New Media’s growing stable of sports broadband sites, which include PGA.com, PGAtour.com, and NASCAR.com.
Turner Sports president David Levy said the division wants to continue to expand its portfolio beyond TNT and TBS.
“I consider myself in the video business, not the television business,” Levy said. “The majority of our efforts are focused on the linear channels, but we’re not losing site of the growth that would be on the digital side.”
Under its latest deal, Turner will operate and promote www.acccselect.com, which will feature live events from swimming, track and field and other sports. Turner and the ACC will charge consumers $3.99 per live event or $5.99 a month for an all- access pass.
ESPN’s 360 broadband site has rights to stream select ACC football and basketball games, while CSTV provides the digital backbone for individual Web sites for the ACC’s 12 schools.
It remains unclear how much Turner will look to stream TNT and TBS sports fare. Levy hasn’t decided whether Turner will stream live NASCAR races as part of a new NASCAR.com broadband site in 2007, even though it has the rights to offer not only its own telecasts, but those of NASCAR’s other TV partners Fox, ESPN and Speed Channel.
Turner did simultaneously stream a portion of TNT’s coverage of August’s PGA Championship event, part of a five-channel broadband video service.
Video Web rights are an important part of Turner Sports’ current renegotiation talks with the National Basketball Association: its $2.2 billion, six-year deal expires after the 2007-08 season. Turner currently produces a broadband video service for NBA.com based on video clips and reports from its Inside The NBA Thursday night pre-game and post-game shows.
“We are interested in talking to content providers to develop deals that make sense financially and that work for both sides,” Levy said. “We’re not going to just go after anything — it has to fit in the overall process of our marketing and business strategy.”
R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.
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