Fox Sports Site Sets Sights on PPV

Following its successful Sept. 2 college-football Webcast, will look to offer more live sports programming via the Internet, possibly on a pay-per-view basis. 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, 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. 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. 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 has secured the exclusive worldwide Internet rights to the Sept. 22 Ultimate Fighting Championship event., 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, 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.

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.