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August 20, 2012
ESPN Extends its Reach with WatchESPN
By Sheldon Spencer, ESPN
Serving the sports fan anytime, anywhere is ESPN's mission.
WatchESPN is that mission in motion.
WatchESPN is an app and website ideal for on-the-go sports fans who do not have televisions handy but have access to a mobile device or computer. Fans can check out SportsCenter, pro and college sports and many other ESPN staples via WatchESPN on mobile devices and computers by those who receive their video service from affiliated providers Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Comcast Xfinity TV and Verizon FiOS TV.
Introduced in April 2011 and available in 40 million households with cable subscriptions, WatchESPN has proved to be a huge hit with sports fans. The app has been downloaded more than 10.2 million times since its launch and served as a template for similar services recently launched by Disney, including Watch Disney Channel, Watch Disney XD and Watch Disney Junior.
In June 2012, WatchESPN notched 1.1 billion live minutes viewed and an average audience of nearly 25,000 fans.
As strong as ESPN's programming was in June – the EURO 2012 soccer tournament, NBA Playoffs and Finals, French Open, Wimbledon and College World Series – fall 2012 promises a sports banquet. The return of ESPN's Monday Night Football and affiliated NFL programming, hundreds of hours of NCAA football and the MLB season's pennant chases are just a few highlights for WatchESPN.
To that end, ESPN asked the MNF team of play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico and analyst Jon Gruden to produce a video guide to using WatchESPN.
The app has drawn raves:
Gizmodo.com's Casey Chan ranks WatchESPN among the best Android apps: “If you have the right cable provider, you can stream ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 and ESPNU straight to your tablet. Works over 3G or Wi-Fi and lets you watch all the biggest sports moments on the go. A must have for any sports fan. Free.”
Allthingsd.com's Peter Kafka wrote of WatchESPN: "It's excellent. I used it to watch many hours of the Euro soccer tournament last month, and a couple quarters of the NBA finals. And I was really glad I had it."
Chris Wilson, a golfer on PGA's Nationwide Tour, raves about the app on Twitter. When contacted by ESPN Front Row, he said: “People are always peeking behind me at airports and asking how I can watch SportsCenter on my iPhone or laptop. With the WatchESPN app, I can have those two favorite channels with me all the time no matter where I am."
Innovative ways to see ESPN programming continue to evolve. In June, ESPN and Microsoft announced they will expand their relationship for ESPN on Xbox Live to add WatchESPN as part of the service. ESPN on Xbox LIVE will deliver HD-quality live programming and events from WatchESPN through its unique interactive sports viewing device.
When WatchESPN was introduced in April 2011 Sean Bratches, ESPN Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, forecast:
This is a groundbreaking extension of our 'best screen available' philosophy and we by no means think that the app is going to replace the TV screen for primary viewing. But sports are meant to be consumed live and we expect that the displaced sports fan is going to find this app immensely useful.
With WatchESPN, the mission is being accomplished.
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