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DISH Network and STATS, Inc. Kick Off First Networked, Interactive Fantasy Sports TV Channel with 'Pick-em Style' Pro and College Games.

Sports Editors/Business Editors

LITTLETON, Colo. & MORTON GROVE, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 25, 2003

Players to compete nationally to win prizes, also can create

private leagues

EchoStar Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH) and its DISH Network(TM), America's fastest growing subscription television service, have teamed with STATS, Inc., the world's leading sports information provider, to debut DISH Network's Fantasy Sports channel. Available now, the new channel hosts the nation's first interactive, networked TV fantasy sports games - Fantasy Sports College and Fantasy Sports Pro football.

Players nationwide are able to compete against each other because they will be networked through their TVs. Players also can create private leagues in which they can compete against friends, family members and co-workers. The games will be available to most of the 6 million DISH Network customers with access to DISH Home Interactive Television (channel 100).

Pro and college game players who earn the highest number of points at the end of their seasons in the national competitions each will win the grand prize of a high definition satellite television system. Weekly points winners for both games will receive 2004 NBA League Pass, which includes up to 40 pro basketball games per week.

"Whether you're a die-hard football fan or someone who simply enjoys the game, you'll love this," said Michael Schwimmer, DISH Network's senior vice president of Programming. "DISH Network's Fantasy Sports channel makes football that much more exciting, and you don't even have to leave your family room to play."

"STATS, Inc. is very pleased to expand its relationship with DISH Network into the fantasy arena," said Steve Byrd, senior vice president of STATS, Inc. "Fantasy sports has been a cornerstone of STATS, Inc., for more than a decade, and we're looking forward to leading the fantasy wave toward interactive television, just as we did on the Internet. DISH Network is the ideal partner to lead the way with us."

The games are played using a 'pick-em' style. Playing and scoring pick-em football is simple:

-- Players select the teams they believe will win each game.

-- Players assign a confidence rating to each game. (In a 16-game week, 1 is assigned to the game in which the player has the least confidence of picking the winning team, while 16 is assigned to the game in which the player has the most confidence of picking the winning team.)

-- Weekly and ongoing points are automatically calculated and determined by adding the confidence rating numbers for each of the games the player picked correctly. Each player's three lowest weekly scores will not count toward the final point total.

Fantasy Sports College and Pro are available for $9.99 per game, per season. Customers who have OpenTV, Inc.,-enabled receiver models 3900, 4900 and 301 can use their remote controls to learn more about and subscribe to one or both games by selecting the DISH Home channel, then Sports and then Fantasy Sports. They also can call DISH Network at 1-800-333-DISH (3474). The games may become available on additional receiver models later this fall.

Fantasy Sports College season lasts 11 weeks, beginning Saturday, Sept. 27. Fantasy Sports Pro season lasts 14 weeks, beginning Sunday, Sept. 28. Subscribers may begin making their picks for college and/or pro beginning today.

Individuals choosing to compete nationally will be assigned to a public league upon sign-up. Only individuals participating in the national and public competition are eligible to win the weekly and grand prizes. Prizes will not be awarded for results in private leagues.

Players must connect their set top boxes to a phone line to submit their selections each week. The games may be played on only one set top box per household.

About EchoStar Communications Corporation

EchoStar Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH) serves 9 million satellite TV customers through its DISH Network(TM), the fastest growing subscription television service in the nation. DISH Network delivers advanced digital satellite television services, including hundreds of video and audio channels, Interactive Television, HDTV, sports and international programming, professional installation and 24-hour customer service. Visit EchoStar's DISH Network at or call 1-800-333-DISH (3474).

About STATS, Inc.

STATS, Inc. is owned by News Corporation (NYSE: NWS). With more than 20 years of experience in sophisticated sports data collection, processing and distribution - STATS is the world's leading sports information and statistical analysis company. STATS provides exclusive information and data from its proprietary databases to fans, professional teams, print and broadcast media, iTV platforms, software developers and interactive and wireless service providers around the globe. STATS, Inc.'s business partners include FOX Sports, ESPN, CBS Sports, WGN Sports, Dish Network, Yahoo!,, AOL, Sporting News, EA Sports and the Associated Press.

About OpenTV

One of the world's leading interactive television companies, OpenTV provides a comprehensive suite of technology, content, games, tools, applications, and professional services that enables cable and satellite network operators in more than 70 countries to deliver and manage iTV services on all major digital TV platforms. OpenTV's technology platforms enable interactive television to more than 47 million set-top boxes on 43 different networks worldwide; 20 million in the U.S. alone. OpenTV has developed more than 300 games that are currently available to more than 12 million subscribers on seven networks. OpenTV has developed 24 applications in nine languages. OpenTV has ported its various technologies to 36 set-top box manufacturers around the world. OpenTV holds 944 issued and pending patents with more than 38,000 claims including 307 issued patents worldwide, 76 of which are U.S.-issued patents. OpenTV has corporate offices in San Francisco, California and Tulsa, Okla., and regional offices in the United States, Europe and Asia/Pacific. For more information, visit

Note to editors and reporters: a DISH Network Fantasy Sports pro football demo and screen shot can be viewed and downloaded by visiting the Press Room Section of the DISH Network Website (, clicking on Image Gallery, and then Screenshots and Demos.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 25, 2003
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