NFL MAKES PLAY FOR PUBLISHING WITH NEW VIEWER'S GUIDE

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The National Football League is launching an ad-supported viewing guide for fans who tune in via satellite dish.

NFL Sunday Ticket Spectator will make its debut in August, then be monthly through January. It is being published for NFL Enterprises by Satellite Business News, Washington-based publisher of custom satellite TV guides.

The magazine will be sent free to between 350,000 and 400,000 satellite dish owners and subscribers to the Sunday Ticket satellite service. The NFL Enterprises service charges viewers $139 to $159 per season for access to every pro football game.

Plans call for each issue to have 32 pages, about half of those ads. The magazine will be a viewer's guide to all the games, with NFL-related editorial.

ONE TEST ISSUE

The league tested one issue of a viewing guide this past season, covering the entire season.

It has taken the NFL three seasons to decide to get into the guide business, according to Tola Murphy-Baran, VP-marketing and sales for NFL Enterprises. Two years ago, the league distributed a single-page game schedule.

"Much to our surprise, research indicated that many of the Sunday Ticket subscribers used that instead of the many satellite guides available," said Ms. Murphy-Baran, who is handling ad sales for the new magazine.

Advertisers in the one-shot issue were Bacardi Imports, Thomson Consumer Electronics, Digital Music Express, MTV Networks, Showtime Networks, Logo 7 for NFL team apparel and Home Box Office.

TIES TO TV

In addition to going back to those marketers, Ms. Murphy-Baran said she will tie the magazine's ad sales to TV ad sales. A rate card is being developed.

Sunday Ticket takes the broadcast feeds of all NFL games and puts them on consecutive channels for dish owners. All games have blank air time intended for local TV ad sales that is sold by NFL Enterprises.

Major on-air advertisers during this past season included Visa International, McDonald's Corp. and Miller Brewing Co.

"It sounds like it might be a good, targeted buy for certain advertisers," said one agency media buyer who hasn't yet received a pitch for the new title. "What we'll have to see, ultimately, is a measurement to make sure the magazine is really being used."

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