Free ‘Look-Ins’ to NFL Online Games

NEW YORK The National Football League has, for the first time on a mass audience basis, offered what it calls live “look-ins,” or free views of portions of some of its online games.

As the NFL continues to battle with cable operators who refuse to carry the NFL Network, the league is offering these free views to households that do not have access to it.

“We created an eight-game package so we could experiment digitally with these games,” said Brian Rolapp, svp of digital media, NFL.

Sprint is the exclusive sponsor of the online package. In its third season of NFL sponsorship, Sprint is the exclusive wireless advertiser and NFL Mobile carrier. Rolapp noted that through Sprint, the NFL has also for the first time offered live-game action on mobile phones.

“This was really a nice execution for Sprint because they could come in and be part of a telecast in the ad buy. They could also come in and be part of a historical NFL online event, and take the same content and repurpose it on their phones, which is perfect for them. This is an example of a good cross-platform execution,” said Rolapp. He would not comment on costs.

There are other interactive elements surrounding the game views. These include studio analysis, sideline game coverage presented by a NFL personality (such as Deion Sanders), fantasy game news and the opportunity to e-mail questions.

The NFL, which successfully tested the online program two weeks ago with the Falcons vs. Colts game, is continuing to roll out the program.