Go long!

The National Football League has its arm cocked and is ready to throw its popular NFL.com Web site into a crowded field of potential receivers, ranging from Internet giant Yahoo to media giant NBC.

The move comes as the five-year contract with current site operator CBS SportsLine.com comes to a close in mid-May and the NFL explores its options to team up with a partner, or partners, that could operate the NFL.com site and more.

"This provides us an opportunity to extend our reach and bring added value to the fans," said Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesman. "After we nailed down our other TV packages, we now are turning our attention to other media deals, such as on the Net and video-on-demand."

Companies as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Sony, Fox NBC and ESPN have all reportedly expressed interest in the NFL.com site and other features, McCarthy noted.

He added the NFL could go several directions, from striking a contract to run the NFL.com site with one partner, while entering into other agreements for such offerings as video-on-demand.

Whichever route it chooses, the deal or deals will likely yield more than the $120 million in cash the football league received from the NFL.com transaction and the additional $280 million in promotional advertising.

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