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AOL, SportsLine team up for traffic

America Online and CBS SportsLine announce a partnership to make SportsLine a prominent tenant on the AOL Sports Channel.

America Online (AOL) and CBS SportsLine today announced a partnership to make SportsLine a prominent tenant on the AOL Sports Channel.

The deal lets more than 8 million AOL members gain instant access to CBS SportsLine's coverage of sports events. The online service will feature prominent links to the SportsLine site, and AOL users will enjoy special "welcome mats" within SportsLine, as well as access to live sports coverage, updated scores, statistics, and analysis.

The terms of the deal include a payment to AOL, an allotted portion of SportsLine's merchandising revenues to AOL, as well as on-air and other CBS cross-promotions.

SportsLine spokesman Brett Werner suggested that AOL members would have access to most of the exclusive content that the stie's subscribers enjoy. Werner would not comment on specific details of the agreement, but said "the deal is 'in kind'--we're giving them TV advertising in exchange for links."

Competition among online sports sites is stiff, though. ABC Sports announced a similar deal last May to produce an area on AOL's Sports Channel. The agreement gave AOL exclusive online access to ABC News's sports coverage, as well as new on-air and online advertising packages for sponsors.

Werner emphasized that the difference between the two agreements: ABC paid AOL to promote ABC's sports coverage, while CBS is using AOL to drive traffic to the SportsLine site.

Additionally, Prodigy and the National Basketball Association teamed up in April with an online marketing pact. The cross-promotion deal included an exclusive NBA area on Prodigy, as well as online promotion of NBA games.