REDMOND, Wash., and LOS ANGELES, March 15, 2005 — With 65 teams and 64 games, March Madness is a college basketball fan’s dream. But as anyone who ever got stuck at the office during a major upset knows, following all the games can be a challenge. That’s why Microsoft Corp. and FOXSports.com have teamed up to offer college basketball fans in the United States a chance to find real-time scores directly from MSN®
Search ( http://www.msn.com ).
By using MSN Search’s unique Instant Answers feature, anyone with an Internet connection can type a team’s full name — such as “Duke Blue Devils” — into the search box to find the score of its game, or type the phrase “March Madness all games” to get updates on all the scores. People also can enter a player’s name and get his full-season stats, and can find answers to historical questions such as “Who won the 1980 March Madness tournament?” or “Who scored the most points in a March Madness championship game?” College Hoops on MSN Search will be available before the first game of the first round tips off.
In addition to Instant Answers and scores, MSN Search will offer relevant links to other sites and information about the teams and the tournament, including detailed team statistics, full-game summaries with box scores and the latest bracket from FOXSports.com. The College Hoops content marks the launch of the beta version of MSN Search’s sports-oriented Instant Answers, and MSN Search has much more sports-related content slated for future release. In fact, sports fans are invited to make their own suggestions about what sports content should be available by clicking on a link included in each March Madness Instant Answer.
“The best and worst thing about March Madness is that there are so many games to watch,” said Justin Osmer, product manager for MSN Search at Microsoft. “We’re making it easy for people to follow them all by offering instant answers to their college basketball questions. Whether people want to know the score of the Kentucky game or all the games in Round 1, they’ll be able to find it right away — with just one click. It’s another example of MSN’s commitment to moving search results beyond links to real answers.”
The real-time scores on MSN Search will be provided by FOXSports.com, and the service will be available throughout the March Madness tournament. FOXSports.com is the exclusive sports content provider for the MSN network.
“Search is one of the core applications in everyone’s daily online experience, and MSN Search has made it incredibly easy for users to find the information they are looking for,” said Edward Bunnell, vice president of Programming for FOX Sports Interactive Media. “FOXSports.com is excited to provide users with the relevant information that will enhance their March Madness experience.”
MSN Search recently launched the first search engine built from the ground up by Microsoft. In response to customer feedback, the engine offers Instant Answers to search queries, so people can get the information they need right away, without scrolling through a list of links.
MSN attracts more than 380 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 40 markets and 20 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and online advertising opportunities to businesses worldwide. The most useful and innovative online service today, MSN brings consumers everything they need from the Web to make the most of their time online. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com . MSN worldwide sites are located at http://www.msn.com/worldwide.ashx .
About FOX Sports, Fox Sports Net and FOX Sports Interactive Media
In just ten years of existence, FOX Sports has earned numerous Emmy Awards for excellence in the presentation of the biggest sporting events on television, more than any other network during the same stretch of time. FOX Sports is the exclusive network broadcast rights holder for Major League Baseball, the exclusive network broadcaster of NFC regular-season National Football League games and a rights holder of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing. Fox Sports Net reaches more than 81 million homes through its 20 regional sports channels, and serves as the only supplier of national, regional and local sports programming. FOX Sports Interactive Media (FSIM) develops new media initiatives for FOX Sports and Fox Sports Net. FSIM distribution channels include Internet ( http://www.foxsports.com/ ), broadband, wireless and interactive television. FoxSports.com is a comprehensive and entertaining online source of sports news, information, listings, games and special features about programming on FOX Sports, Fox Sports Net, FOX Sports Radio and much more from the world of sports. FSIM is owned and managed by FOX Sports Networks, a subsidiary of Fox Entertainment Group (NYSE: FOX), a division of News Corp.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Microsoft and MSN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft®
Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.asp .