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Tuesday, August 17, 1999 Published at 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK


Football is big Net draw

Juventus is part of a Super League of club Websites

By Internet Correspondent Chris Nuttall

AC Milan will join a European Super League of Internet Websites on Tuesday, as football becomes the hottest property on the World Wide Web.

More than 200 journalists from around the world have been invited to the launch of the bilingual It has been developed by London-based Pangolin, whose team already includes Juventus and Paris St Germain.

Pangolin plans to launch its Sportal Network in Europe next month, with the introduction of an Italian sports site. It has already acquired other general sports sites in Denmark and Sweden.

Domestic competition

While Pangolin mounts its European campaign, domestic honours are being fought out between a host of UK sites eager to attract visitors with a football feast:

  • FootballFC was launched by News International last week with content from its Sun, News of the World and Times newspapers. It competes with Associated Newspapers' Soccernet, The Express's Sportlive and The Guardian's FootballUnlimited

  • is a production of SportsLine Europe, an offshoot of the SportsLine USA site, launched in time for the new season. Its reports are mainly news agency copy but it has surprisingly good coverage of the lower divisions. A rugby site is planned in time for the World Cup and SportsLine has formed an alliance with

    [ image: AC Milan shoots for the Net]
    AC Milan shoots for the Net

  • Football365 has a new look and, like Pangolin, the 365 Corporation also has European ambitions. It has acquired the French site Rugby365 was launched on Monday, the same day as Pangolin's

  • TEAMtalk has teamed up with Virgin Net to produce an Internet radio show with all the latest football scores. Virgin is also featuring commentary on Chelsea and Nottingham Forest games.

For the lads

FootballFC was announced in a four-page pullout in The Sun last week. It encouraged readers to access it through, The Sun's subscription-free Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Football is being seen as a key driver of Internet adoption by Rupert Murdoch's companies in the same way that rights to the game secured the success of his BSkyB satellite TV service in the past.

Football365 is a link from portals such as Freeserve and Yahoo! and SportsLine's site will be a feature of the free ISP Netscape Online, due to be launched by AOL later this month.

AOL is promising its new service will address the young male Net users who still dominate the Web demographics - hence the sudden surge in soccer sites appealing to laddish tastes.

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