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Boxing, Soccer Get Exclusive Internet Runs

Two content-based Internet companies will have distribution
rights to sporting events for pay-per-view carriage exclusively via the Web.

New York-based acquired the exclusive
television rights to an April 26 women's boxing card to distribute through its new
Web site, which is set for an early April launch, consultant Sid Amira said. Terms of the
deal were not announced.

The card, promoted by Event Sports, is the first Webcast of
an all-female boxing card. Under the terms of the deal, owns the broadcast,
Internet and cable rights, as well as all event-merchandising rights, Amira said. He added
that the company will look to distribute the card on cable delay through a basic-cable

Amira explained that with Internet video-downstreaming
technology still in its infancy stage, the company decided to purchase all of the
event's rights to maximize revenue across several distribution outlets.

"This represents a Internet company coming in and
buying all of the rights to an event, like companies used to do with boxing in the old
days," Amira said. "And with the growing popularity of women's boxing
around the world, is uniquely positioned to expand this exciting sport to
every fan with a PC and the ability to log on."

Event Sports president Rick Kulis said the aggressiveness
of Internet companies in purchasing PPV-event rights could be a positive development for
the industry.

"This is the first time I've seen an
Internet-based broadcaster step up to the plate to buy and produce an event for both
Internet and traditional broadcast," Kulis said. "I think it's a sign of
things to come for Internet-broadcasting companies."

Amira said the company will look to obtain rights to more
high-profile events in the near future.

Meanwhile, Connecticut-based e-Media Internet Co. planned
to distribute a soccer match via the Internet last Thursday, after press time. The
scheduled Celta de Vigo of Spain/Juventus event was to air exclusively on the Internet.

"This is the promise of streaming media: to be able to
use the Internet to bring to interested viewers programming that is unavailable on
television," e-Media director of business development Paul Ragland said.
"We're excited to be able to use our proprietary PPV technology to deliver
championship European soccer in a broadband format over the Internet to soccer fans
outside of Europe."

R. Thomas Umstead
R. Thomas Umstead

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.