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IBM and National Football League Team for Sponsorship and Information Technology Agreement


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ARMONK, N.Y. - 23 Jul 2003: The National Football League and IBM today announced a three-year agreement naming IBM as the NFL's official information technology (IT) partner. The agreement is centered on helping the NFL create the technology platform required to support next-generation digital media and other critical new business ventures for the NFL.

As part of the agreement, IBM will receive the rights to use NFL and Super Bowl marks and imagery in its advertising and marketing efforts. It also will receive prominent presence on numerous NFL media platforms, including NFL.COM and NFL Sunday Ticket (the NFL's out-of-market satellite subscription package on DIRECTV). In addition, IBM will be a charter advertiser of NFL Network, the new NFL television programming service launching November 4.

The initial focus of the agreement includes assisting the NFL in designing and implementing an advanced, flexible and centrally managed digital asset "warehouse" to maximize the ongoing use of more than 80 years of NFL assets (i.e. video, audio, images, text and statistics) across the League's member Clubs, varied properties and Internet partners.

"The NFL continues to align itself with partners that will help move the league into the next phase of information technology, an element that is critical to continue to deliver on the needs of our fans, member clubs and business partners," said John Collins, the NFL's senior vice president of marketing and sales. "We look forward to working with IBM as we evolve the way we view and use technology over the next several seasons."

The NFL and IBM will team to define next generation technology that will help enable NFL Films, Clubs, broadcasters and partners to access and distribute the NFL's digital content in a controlled and secure environment.

The NFL chose IBM for its technology expertise and portfolio of products, such as DB2 Content Manager, DB2 Universal Database software, Tivoli Storage Manager software and IBM tape storage, which run on IBM eServer xSeries(TM) and pSeries(TM) servers.

In addition, as the official information technology partner for the NFL, IBM Business Consulting Services will provide consulting services, business model definition and IT prioritization throughout the duration of the relationship to maximize the NFL's return on investment.

"This solution will demonstrate how the NFL can transform the use of NFL digital content to enrich the way it operates the League for coaches, media, scouts and fans," said Dick Anderson, general manager, IBM Digital Media. "The digital media solutions we are creating will not only be a showcase of IBM's capability in the emerging area of digital media, but they also will help prepare one of the world's foremost media properties for next-generation of on-demand digital media."

Over the past 43 years, IBM has extended its business solutions into entertainment and professional sports by providing results and competition management systems. With the emergence of e-business, IBM has expanded many of these relationships to include a presence on the Web. Today, IBM provides technology support and solutions to major sports and entertainment properties, including the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and U.S. Open Tennis championships, the PGA TOUR, Cirque du Soleil and the Tony Awards.

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