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NFL Continues To Push Distribution, Barter Plays Role

The National Football League continues to spread its footprint across more networks, signing a deal with Ion Media for a weekly one-hour �NFL Game of the Week� every Saturday at 6 p.m. through January.

Ion, a TV-station group that reaches 93 million viewers, is the second network deal engineered by the NFL in the last month. A weekly prime-time series called �NFL Network: Total Access� runs every Saturday evening from 9 to 10 on MyNetworkTV through the end of the NFL season.

Ion will pay the NFL an undisclosed license fee for �NFL Game of the Week� and will keep all of the advertising time in each telecast. It will also run promos for the NFL as part of the arrangement. The MyNet contract is more of a barter deal, in which the NFL doesn't pocket any cash but instead gets some 30-second spots to sell in the �Total Access� telecast.

NFL Films will also produce 21 episodes of a new half-hour series for Ion called �Stories of the NFL,� consisting of profiles of players and what their lives are like off the field. It kicks off in February 2008.

Brandon Burgess, CEO of Ion Media Networks, and Howard Katz, chief operating officer of NFL films, negotiated the contract.

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