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Internet

NFL stays on ESPN team

The deal between the two firms extends their two-year-old relationship for another three years.

The NFL today made official its selection of Disney subsidiary ESPN as its Web site partner.

The deal, as reported last week, extends a two-year-old relationship between the NFL and ESPN SportsZone for another three years.

ESPN and the NFL will share revenues from the coproduced site. The up-front cost of the deal to ESPN was not disclosed, but a spokesperson characterized a widely reported $10 million figure as inaccurate.

As the Internet has grown, so has the value of sports sites for their marketing and e-commerce potential. Analysts say the NFL contract provoked a fierce bidding war among contenders, including CBS SportsLine.

Under their renewed partnership, the NFL and ESPN will concentrate on integrating and cross-promoting the NFL Web site with various ESPN media properties, including its four cable networks, its radio program, and its magazine. The Web site itself will feature expanded e-commerce areas and increased video coverage of games.