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Cowboys touch down online

The Dallas Cowboys teams up with Canadian telco giant Nortel to announce a high-powered, souped-up Web site, underscoring the online world's growing importance in international marketing.

The Dallas Cowboys today teamed up with Canadian telco giant Nortel to create a high-powered and souped-up Web site, underscoring the online world's growing importance in international marketing.

As reported yesterday by CNET, the site offers a "virtual tour" of the Cowboys' stadium, including what the field looks like from 50-yard-line seats. Given the professional football team's popularity and global fan base, it promises to be one of the Web's most popular sites.

It also includes an easy-to-use navigator dubbed the "Armchair Quarterback." One other feature is the ability to set up email addresses such as JoeFan@dallascowboys.com.

"This site is a reflection of our organization and will provide you up to the minute news, feature articles, interviews, pictures, and even some video footage of our favorite players," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said today. The basics are available too, such as online shopping for Cowboys merchandise and the ability to download videos of team players and cheerleaders alike.

The system is linked with Nortel's ATM-based switches and Entrust security software. That should make connectiion time faster and more reliable.

ATM technology normally is reserved for important business-to-business communications, but is increasingly breaking into the mainstream. It is seen as a way to prevent Internet "brown-outs" caused by too much congestion.

Sports sites, such as ESPNet SportsZone, are among the most popular on the Web. They also can be a strong new revenue source for sports teams, said Glen Morrissey, president of Galisteo Interactive in Seattle.

Other NFL teams with Web sites include the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders.

The telephone companies are also are rushing to sponsor the sites, partly because they keep phone lines busy. Pacific Bell sponsors the 49ers site, for example.