BUSINESS WIRE--The Chicago Bandits will be the first women’s pro softball team to broadcast their 2008 home season online, starting with the kickoff game this Friday, June 6, 2008. Partnering with online broadcasting company Network Foundation Technologies™ (NFT), the Chicago Bandits is the first team in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league to break away from the Pay-Per-View model and offer fans FREE-For-View content – programming that is live and free of charge.
The team’s strong roster boasts Olympic Champion Jennie Finch, who won the Team USA Softball Gold in 2004 and is on her way to compete in the Beijing Olympics with the 2008 National team. Finch will not be playing the 2008 season due to her Olympics commitment, but will rejoin her team after Beijing. However, popular and fellow 2004 Gold medalist Amanda Freed will be playing this season. Freed and Finch shine as marquee players in the fast-growing popularity of women’s softball, and the Chicago Bandits’ online broadcasts will help the sport continue cultivating and reaching its vast fan base.
NFT’s unique video broadcasting solution incorporates a customizable, downloadable player that broadcasts content directly to the viewer’s computer desktop. Fans can go to www.chicagobandits.com and download the team’s official TV player to gain access to the “Bandits TV” network, which will play all home games and content for the 2008 season.
With the ability to reach large, geographically diverse audiences at a fraction of the bandwidth cost of other online broadcasting technologies, NFT’s platform is a viable solution for many content providers who want to deliver high quality, live television-style programming that is free of charge to viewers. “The Chicago Bandits are on the cutting edge of women’s sports. We pride ourselves on being the leader in setting trends for women’s pro softball. Our attendance numbers are the largest in the league, and our games have received the most televised coverage. We recognize that streaming media is the new frontier that will offer significant exposure for our team and sponsors,” said Bill Conroy, owner and general manager of the Chicago Bandits. “We are excited for the opportunity to work with Network Foundation Technologies and TheSoftballChannel.com to make this happen.”
“NFT is proud to further activate the Chicago Bandits’ brand and bring women’s pro softball to fans worldwide. The Chicago Bandits are the first NPF team to step away from Pay-Per-View and embrace our innovative technology. The sport’s fan base has steadily increased, and we are excited to be able to offer this content to fans all over the world and participate in the booming growth and recognition of women’s sports,” said Marcus Morton, President of NFT.
NFT’s distributed broadcast model avoids the pitfalls inherent in peer-to-peer file sharing systems by enabling the distribution of live content, eliminating the need to store data on each viewer’s hard drive, and limiting use of Internet connections to only those time periods when the viewer is actively tuned to a program. This patented technology builds and maintains a highly stable broadcast network by using the turnover inherent in distributed networks to drive the most reliable active connections to the most critical regions of the network, ensuring that quality of service remains high. By never requiring any computer in the network to retransmit more than two copies of the broadcast stream, the network can continue expanding while keeping bandwidth costs low and controlled.
NFT’s emerging presence in the world of sports and events is strong. The company has ongoing partnerships with top sports leagues such as arenafootball2, USA Weightlifting, USA Judo and the Central Hockey League.