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Summary:

ESPN (NYSE:DIS) will try to unravel its online video confusion by relaunching ESPN360 in September with an emphasis on streaming live events…

ESPN (NYSE:DIS) will try to unravel its online video confusion by relaunching ESPN360 in September with an emphasis on streaming live events — some 2,000 in the first 12 months, according to the WSJ. Games — the Disney (NYSE: DIS) sports net has been piling up live digital rights including nearly 1,000 college basketball games — and news conferences will show on ESPN360.com; highlights, news and archived shows will be on ESPN.com.

The explanation, in part: fans were confused between the video offerings. That’s a little simplistic — whether a viewer has access at all is the most confusing aspect of ESPN360, which has been licensed for a fee, like other ESPN nets, to affiliates who make the content available to their subscribers. I can watch because Charter Communications licenses the broadband channel but if your provider doesn’t license it, you can’t see it. Time Warner Cable, Cox and Comcast are among those who haven’t agreed to license the broadband network. That cuts the potential audience substantially — WSJ says ESPN360 is only available in 16 million homes. As long as the cable net business model stays in place, it’s not likely to grow much although ESPN can benefit from the broadband expansion of telecom customers AT&T and Verizon. On the other hand, only part of ESPN.com is behind a pay wall; the bulk is accessible to any user regardless of ISP.

The first measure of the “new” ESPN360 will be if live viewing increases in those 16 million homes; WSJ reports five-figure audiences for some past events, so it won’t take much for improvement. The next: if people without access start to lobby their ISPs to sign on.

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  1. ESPN Gameplan online was great. This change to the model really stinks. For me to watch Florida Gator games in California is already difficult enough. This move to ESPN 360 now requires that your ISP can provide ESPN 350. In my case, I have Verizon, but I do not have Verizon FIOS, which incapacitates me from watching ESPN 360. This means that I now have no options to watching my college football games online.

    This stinks!

  2. Too damn right !!!

    I am from Bournemouth in England, UK and I did see some games online via Gameplan last year but now I have been told there won't be games online so all would be on ESPN360 and no chance on ANY live college football, so I asked my cable supplier (Virgin Media) if they could provide the program on broadband. NOPE !!!

    None of the cable suppliers in the USA are linked with Virgin Media. (I thought they should be whereas how come we get american shows and NASN which still shows college football but is very limited choice even college basketball)

    I would still like to have ESPN gameplan on normal like last year thus having wide choice of matches to watch. Now there isn't.

    Not even the CSTV website which requires a USA billing address.

    It now seems that those who live outside USA are being screwed up.

    No chances there for online live college football outside USA.

  3. I too am in the UK, and even though I have NASN, I was going to subscribe to Gameplan online again. This really sucks – do they not want our cash?

  4. steven swanson Thursday, August 23, 2007

    ESPN REALLY DROPPED THE BALL ONCE AGAIN. NICE WAY TO ALIENATE GAME PLAN ON – LINE SUBSCRIBERS. I WOULD NOT CHANGE INTERNET PROVIDERS IF IT WAS AVAILABLE JUST TO BENEFIT ESPN. UNFORTUNATELY THIS EVIL EMPIRE CONTROLS SPORTS VIEWING. THANKS A LOT ESPN….

  5. I'm in Oxford and just realised by reading this board that I am getting screwed too! Does anyone have any alternative solutions? Please let me know what else we can do!!!

  6. The article does not specifically mention ESPN GamePlan online, the title just says "ESPN Changes Broadband Game Plan". Are we sure this will affect GamePlan online? I see more benefit for them to keep this as a separate pay per view deal than to move it to ESPN 360.

  7. I agree, but I've searched high and low, and the bad news keeps hitting me in the face. And you can't get through to them on the phone, and they don't answer emails!

  8. What the @#$ is going on?

  9. I have Time Warner in Texas. Because I use a Tivo with cable cards and not the TimeWarner specific cable box, I can't get the GamePlan on TV. And now, because I have TimeWarner internet, I can't watch them online. My work pays for my internet usage, and there is no way I'm going to pay for a second ISP just for this.

    I dont' really care if ESPN gives ESPN360 away to ISPs that play ball with them (pun intended). But they should give you an option of getting it if your circumstances don't allow you to use one of their blessed ISPs. I would have gladly paid ESPN directly for GamePlan online, but I guess that's just not going to happen.

  10. I'm from Munich/Germany and ESPN Gameplan was great last year to see the Buckeyes. So our cash is not good enough for them?? Fuck that, this is a joke!!! Where is the fucking globalisation when you need it???

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