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NFL.com passes promotions to AOL, CBS

The National Football League announces agreements with America Online, CBS and CBS SportsLine to promote NFL.com.

The National Football League on Wednesday announced agreements with America Online, CBS and CBS SportsLine to promote NFL.com.

As previously reported, the three companies will pay the league a total of $110 million over five years, according to people close to the deals.

The deals highlight how selling sports rights has extended to the Internet. TV networks have long paid professional sports leagues billions of dollars for long-term broadcast rights.

Under the terms of Wednesday's deal, SportsLine will produce NFL.com with its own content and features and will host the site on its servers. SportsLine will take over for ESPN's Internet division, whose contract with the league expired earlier this year.

AOL Time Warner will promote NFL.com throughout its flagship online service and other AOL properties, including Netscape and ICQ. AOL will also receive promotion during televised games as "the official ISP of the NFL."

CBS, which already has a broadcasting deal with the league, and other Viacom-owned TV networks will promote the NFL's Internet-related features.

Separately, SportsLine said it has signed a multiyear extension to an agreement with AOL. SportsLine will remain a preferred content partner on AOL's sports channel as well as on Netscape, CompuServe, Digital City and ICQ.