ESPN has tapped Major League Baseball Advanced Media to provide technology infrastructure and operations support for ESPN3.com, when it launches April 3.
ESPN3.com is the new iteration of ESPN360.com, a digital channel that streams live sporting events. ESPN has deals with many Internet service providers to provide access to the service, including Comcast, Cox, AT&T, Verizon, RCN and others, totaling about 50 million homes.
"It is a natural fit, we have the technological background to do it but we also have the philosophical background, of how important content is, how important it is to make sure the right people are getting the right content at the right time," Bob Bowman, president and CEO of MLBAM told B&C. "
ESPN360.com currently streams more than 3,500 live events each year. The new agreement will allow for more HD streaming, as well as features like picture-in-picture and split screens.
"ESPN360.com carries a wide variety of more than 3,500 live sporting events online, and continually improving that experience is our top priority," said John Kosner, senior VP and general manager, ESPN Digital Media in a statement. "This new agreement with MLBAM, which deepens our seven-year relationship, brings two leaders in sports video streaming together on the same platform. We will continue to deliver a high quality network to fans as it transitions to ESPN3.com in April."
Bowman also says that while the agreement is strictly technical at the moment, it could expand in the future. With MLBAM powering ESPN3.com, MLB.TV as well as other services, the opportunity for cross-platform integration exists.
"If [someone] is watching a baseball game, they might get entitled to see or get a look-in to an international soccer match, or vice-versa," Bowman says.