ESPN To Rebrand, Expand Web Video Service

ESPN3.com to launch in April
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0

Cable sports giant ESPN announced Wednesday that it is rebranding its broadband sports network, ESPN360.com, as ESPN3.com and improving the user interface with new features and functionality.

ESPN360.com is available to cable and telco subscribers who have reached deals with ESPN to carry the service and is typically offered at no extra charge; ESPN says it currently is available in 50 million homes. It features live streaming and on-demand replays of a mix of sports, ranging from mass-appeal fare like college football and Major League Baseball to niche sports like rugby and the America's Cup sailing competition, which ESPN is offering live coverage of this week. ESPN said that the new ESPN3.com will continue to offer the same mix of live and on-demand sports along with the ability to pause and rewind live events, with some 3,500 total events per year, and that further details on improvements to the service will come in the next two months.

ESPN3 com

ESPN360.com currently is carried by AT&T, Verizon, Cox Communications, Comcast, RCN, Insight, Frontier, Cavalier, Charter, Mediacom, Conway, and Grande Communications, among others. ESPN has been working steadily over the past two years to expand carriage of the ESPN360.com service and improve the viewing experience to make it more TV-like by using new compression technology and updating the video player.

The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that ESPN3 is seeking to expand distribution of the new ESPN3.com broadband service by reducing carriage of its ESPN Classic cable TV network and bundling it with the newer networks ESPNU and ESPN Deportes. It also said that ESPN is looking to bring ESPN3.com to broadband-enabled gaming consoles and connected TVs. An ESPN spokesperson was not immediately available for comment this morning.

"The name ESPN3.com more closely aligns with the existing naming convention for our networks," said Sean Bratches, ESPN EVP of sales and marketing, in a statement. "We have approached this as a network for years, and as users have become more accustomed to engaging with content across various screens, it made sense to make adjustments that reflect both the product's and the industry's evolution."

"The name ESPN3.com more closely aligns with the existing naming convention for our networks," said Sean Bratches, ESPN EVP of sales and marketing, in a statement. "We have approached this as a network for years, and as users have become more accustomed to engaging with content across various screens, it made sense to make adjustments that reflect both the product's and the industry's evolution."

The Wall Street Journal reported that ESPN3's first big event will be a Major League Baseball game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. The Journal also said that ESPN is seeking to expand distribution of the new ESPN3.com broadband service by reducing carriage of its ESPN Classic cable TV network and bundling it with the newer networks ESPNU and ESPN Deportes. It also reported that ESPN is looking to bring ESPN3.com to broadband-enabled gaming consoles and connected TVs.

ESPN confirmed that ESPN3.com, which will launch earlier in the day on Apr. 4, will likely show the Yankees/Red Sox game. But as an opening-day game it will be blacked out in local markets, unlike ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" and other national games, which are simulcast in local markets with coverage from local broadcast and cable rights-holders.

ESPN has been allowing operators to swap carriage of ESPN Classic for carriage of ESPN360.com in combination with ESPNU and ESPN Deportes, said ESPN spokeswoman Amy Phillips, with the idea that delivering more college and amateur sports coverage to subscribers "provides more value to affiliates without increasing the financial burden on them." Phillips said the new ESPN3.com service will feature more interactivity than ESPN360.com and more tie-ins to fantasy sports leagues.

Related