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NFL and Yahoo! Announce Agreement

The National Football League and Yahoo! Inc. announced a content and distribution agreement that includes live audio Webcasts for almost all of this season's regular season NFL games.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, and there are a few teams which did not participate due to rights conflicts with the team's flagship radio station. The Minnesota Vikings, for example, had previously struck an independent deal with IBeam.

Yahoo! Broadcast will also be webcasting the pregame and postgame shows for these teams. In addition, NFL.com and Yahoo! Sports have agreed to co-brand the GameDay real-time stats feature on NFL.com.

Yahoo! Broadcast is essentially providing the backend for NFL.com, and guaranteeing a consistent quality of stream. There will be no distinguishable lag between the terrestrial radio feed and the webcast, according to Todd Porch, Director of Broadcast Operations at Yahoo! Broadcast. In most cases, Yahoo! Broadcast will accomplish this by uplinking the flagship station's feed via a satellite connection to its Dallas data center, where the infrastructure is in place to handle the encoding and streaming of the signal. Yahoo! will be using the Real format.

"We've sent guys out to the individual clubs to gather the necessary connectivity, " stated Porch. Yahoo! already webcasts audio feeds for the NBA, Major League Baseball, and several college teams. According to Porch, Yahoo! Broadcast handled about 13 million hours of streams in June of this year alone.

The NFL has actively tested streaming technology to promote American football overseas, and has recently signed on with e-bay to auction memorabilia. In general, the league continues to show embracing signs towards internet technology.

"The NFL is the leader in traditional media and new media. Relationships with companies such as Yahoo! further solidify our position,'' said Chris Russo, NFL Senior VP of new media.

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