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AOL and SportsLine.com of Fort Lauderdale have emerged as the lead candidates for the rights to produce, distribute and market nfl.com, replacing the presumptive favorite, incumbent ESPN Internet Group, according to industry sources.
The companies could sign separate deals that would give the league one portal distribution partner in AOL, the most trafficked U.S. Internet portal, and a vertical partner and producer in SportsLine.com, the second-busiest general sports site after ESPN.com.
The National Football League is asking for five-year deals with options after the 2002 season, allowing it to synchronize Web and TV rights if it wants. The league has such …