NEW YORK and REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 11, 2001 — The MSN® Internet Service, one of the worlds most popular Internet destinations, and the National Hockey League today announced details of an exclusive agreement that makes MSN the official Internet service of the NHL. The agreement, the first of its kind between MSN and a professional sports league, delivers easy, one-click access to the latest hockey news from NHL.com and the NHL.com Network to millions of MSN users across North America, while exposing hockey to a broad audience. As a key component of the agreement, the NHL is offering free* live audio broadcasts of virtually every regular-season game as well as playoff games on MSN using Windows Media™
technology. With broadcasts available today at MSN and on NHL.com, hockey fans can immediately take advantage of the NHLs continuing tradition of providing audio broadcasts of its games at no charge over the Internet.
“Teaming up with the NHL is a natural step in the ongoing commitment of MSN to bring the best available content to consumers,”
said Yusuf Mehdi, vice president of MSN at Microsoft Corp.
“The broad consumer reach of MSN combined with Microsofts technology expertise, specifically our ability to bring the NHL home to consumers throughout the United States and Canada with Windows Media on MSN, was a deciding factor when it came time for the NHL to choose the best company to work with on the Web.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said,
“I am thrilled that MSN chose to make the NHL the first major sports league it works with. This innovative alliance gives the NHL featured positioning and placement throughout MSN and will expose millions more consumers to our game around the world. In turn, MSN users will enjoy the in-depth, up-to-the-minute hockey news and information on NHL.com.”
Consumers will have quick access to the in-depth news, statistics and game analysis found on NHL.com through its integration with MSN, in addition to one-click access to sports content and services such as the MSN Hotmail®
Web-based e-mail service and MSN Messenger Service already found on MSN. Using Windows Media technology for the highest quality audio broadcasts, MSN is offering audio streams of regular-season and playoff games, in both French and English, for U.S. and Canadian fans. Game broadcasts are accessible via the MSN sports section and WindowsMedia.com, http://windowsmedia.com/, the MSN guide to audio and video content on the Internet as well as via NHL.com.
The agreement complements the ongoing MSN initiative to deliver great sports content, which kicked off with the recent addition of exclusive ESPN.com content to the MSN roster. As an additional benefit of the alliance, ESPN.com will provide enhanced promotion and marketing of NHL.com and NHL telecasts on ESPN television networks.
Similar to ESPN, the NHL will take advantage of other leading technologies and services from Microsoft, including Microsoft®
Passport, enabling single sign-in capability and, in the future, Microsoft .NET Alerts, allowing users to choose to receive the latest NHL score updates when and where they want them. Microsoft and the NHL plan to introduce a co-branded version of MSN Explorer designed especially for hockey fans in the coming months.
MSN is the worlds most popular destination on the Web, attracting more than 250 million visitors per month. Available in 33 markets and 17 languages, MSN provides consumers with their home on the Web — where they can get everything they need from the Web and make the most of their time online. MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and digital marketing solutions to businesses worldwide. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com/ .
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.
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