REDMOND, Wash., and LOS ANGELES — March 9, 2006 — It’s what college basketball fans live for: The 2006 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament tips off in one week with 65 teams and 64 games to crown the national champion on April 3. To help fans stay on top of all the action, even when they can’t get to a TV or tune in on the radio, Microsoft Corp. is teaming up with FOX Sports for the second consecutive year to deliver real-time scores and a huge array of other college basketball information directly from MSN Search.
MSN Search’s unique Instant Answers feature lets anyone with an Internet connection check the score in real time of any game in the tournament by typing a team’s full name, such as Kansas Jayhawks, into the search query box. Additional information, including previous game results and next scheduled game details, will also be displayed. Entering the phrase March Madness will deliver real-time updates on all the games in the tournament.
In addition to Instant Answers and scores, MSN Search also 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 on MSN.
“For millions of us who love college basketball, having so many games packed into three weeks of nonstop action is both a cause for joy and a real challenge to stay up on all the outcomes,” said Justin Osmer, senior product manager for MSN Search at Microsoft. “With real-time scores and Instant Answers from MSN Search and FOX Sports, fans are never more than a click away from the cure for their basketball fever.”
To turn up the excitement even higher, FOX Sports and MSN are hosting an online bracket contest in which participants can choose which teams they think will win games in each round of the tournament. Fans can compete with their friends in a private group, enter their selections in public groups or play by themselves. Each participant can enter up to three brackets (one per group) in the contest.
The top 100 scores, based on correctly choosing the highest number of winning teams in a particular bracket, will appear on a global leader board on FOXSports.com on MSN. At the end of the tournament, the top three winners will each receive high-definition televisions; 97 runners-up will receive $50 Staples gift cards to use at the office superstore. Contest rules, entry forms and other details can be found at http://cbkgame.foxsports.msn.com.
FOXSports.com, the exclusive sports destination for the MSN network, will make real-time scores from the 2006 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament available on MSN Search as soon as the first game of the first round tips off.
“Pairing our up-to-the-minute game scores with Instant Answers from MSN Search during the 2005 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament drew such positive feedback from hoops fans worldwide that we’re excited to bring it back this year,” said Edward Bunnell, vice president of Programming for FOX Sports Interactive Media LLC. “Unless you’ve got unlimited time to watch every minute of every game over the next three weeks, MSN Search is the easiest and most comprehensive place to follow your favorite team’s quest for the ultimate prize in college basketball.”
The first search engine built from the ground up by Microsoft, MSN Search offers Instant Answers to countless types of search queries to bring people the precise information they need right away, without scrolling through a list of links.
About FOX Sports Interactive
FOX Sports Interactive develops new media initiatives for FOX Sports, FSN and FOX Sports Radio with distribution channels that include the Internet (msn.foxsports.com, www.scout.com, msn.foxsoccer.com and www.whatifsports.com), broadband, wireless and interactive television.
FOXSports.com on MSN is a comprehensive and entertaining online source of sports news, statistics, interactive games and special features from the world of sports. FOXSports.com averages over 14 million unique visitors a months according to comScore Media Metrix and consistently ranks as one the highest trafficked sports destinations online.
FOX Sports Interactive is owned and managed by FOX Interactive Media, a News Corp Company.
About MSN and Windows Live
MSN attracts more than 465 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 42 markets and 21 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering compelling programmed content experiences to consumers and online advertising opportunities to businesses worldwide. Windows Live™, a new set of personal Internet services and software, is designed to bring together in one place all the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with enhanced safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web. MSN and Windows Live will be offered alongside each other as complementary services. Some Windows Live services entered an early beta phase on Nov. 1, 2005; these and future beta updates can be found at http://ideas.live.com. Windows Live is available at http://www.live.com. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com. MSN worldwide sites are located at http://www.msn.com/worldwide.ashx.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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