INTERACTIVE;SPORT ACTIVE REACHES OUT TO FANS IN BARS;SYSTEM TAPS COORS AS ADVERTISER; FORD, NISSAN, VISA ALSO LOOKING

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Ntn communications, until now the leading company providing interactive entertainment in bars and restaurants, is getting a competitor.

Sport Active Television, Calgary, Canada, in August launches Sport Active Football, allowing consumers to play against one another in an interactive football game.

NETWORK ROLLING OUT NOW

The company last week began deploying its interactive network in hotels and restaurants across the country, including Hooter's, Red Lion Inns, Sheraton Hotels, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Amtrak Corp.

NTN, Carlsbad, Calif., offers interactive entertainment in about 3,500 sports bars and restaurants across the country.

Advertisers include Chrysler Corp., Sprint Corp. and Miller Brewing Co.

Marketers will pay between $350,000 and $1 million annually for category exclusive sponsorship and advertising rights on Sport Active. Coors Brewing Co. has already signed as one of two premier sponsors.

Sponsors can air traditional commercials, place logos and run messages on screen during the game.

"Looks like Sport Active has some fairly good consumer potential for certain products," said Dick Hackenberg, interactive account director at TBWA/Chiat Day, Venice, Calif., agency for Nissan.

HAND-HELD REMOTE CONTROLS

Players use hand-held remote control devices to select various plays, and can control the outcome of the game. Unlike NTN, which lets users play along with live sporting events, Sport Active uses live action video.

"Interacting with live, real-time sporting events is obviously more compelling than produced games," said Pat Downs, chairman-CEO of NTN, which has licensing agreements with the National Hockey League and National Football League.

"Interactive TV and entertainment gets a higher message retention because people are much more involved with it," said Gary Orosy, managing consultant at the Franklin Network, the U.S. marketing and sponsorship agency for Sport Active.

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