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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, November 5, 2006

NFL fans can join in action on cell

By DAVID LIEBERMAN
USA Today

NEW YORK Cell phones are about to gain several yards on the media convergence field following the launch of a service that enables phone users to play games along with live NFL matchups.

Technology company AirPlay Friday unveiled license agreements with the NFL and the NFL Players Association for NFL AirPlay Live.

"We're marrying live TV with mobile games to create a new experience," AirPlay CEO Morgan Guenther says.

Before each play in a game, Sprint PCS Vision, Power Vision and Nextel customers who download AirPlay's software can pick from a menu what they think will happen. For example, they may be asked whether the offense will run or pass, where or how far they'll go or who will get the ball.

Play began last weekend, and any NFL game can be played. Phone users score points for correct answers and can compare their tallies with friends, a group of strangers or all players nationwide. In some games they'll be able to compete against Chester Taylor of the Minnesota Vikings.

The service will cost $3.99 a month or $9.99 for the season.

AirPlay, Sprint and the NFL will split the revenue, as well as any income from advertisers who might develop ways to get players to engage with game commercials.

There'll be no data charges for Sprint customers who pay $15 a month for the Sprint Service Pack. Others will be charged 3 cents for each kilobyte of data usage.

The company currently can handle 200,000 simultaneous users, although Guenther says it will be easy to add capacity.