Mobile ESPN: The Schadenfreude

Now that Mobile ESPN is closing, as reported first, everybody’s piling on with all kinds of “we told you so”, and none of them are far off the mark.
— Firstly, the ad on the right will probably go down in history as the worst ad ever.I bet some creative people will come up with mash ups based on this ad.
— Secondly, a great comment on the Deadspin blog: “espn mobile is not closing down operations… it had an allergic reaction to the reality”.
— Then ironically the “MVNO Sustainable Business Models” conference was going on this week in New York, and the reaction there was “a mixture of shock and resignation. Conference participants opined that the company suffered from a lack of patience on the part of its parent company and a less-than-optimal distribution strategy,” as RCRNews reports.
— And then, in a guest column on our site last year, Craig Cooper, a co-founder of Boost Mobile USA and now a Partner with Softbank Capital, wrote this: “I have a bet with an industry analyst that ESPN Mobile as an MVNO, won’t be a significant business (note: it’s for a bottle of Australian Grange so I hope to win). One of my industry associates thinks this business will be as big as Boost or Virgin. I can’t see it. There is probably a warehouse full of Nextel NASCAR phones somewhere that never sold. I personally have never seen a NASCAR phone anywhere. Granted, its one sport as opposed to a full ESPN sports offering but does anyone want to own a sports phone and have it managed and provisioned solely by ESPN? As an Aussie, we are crazy about our sports and I may not completely understand the US sports culture but my bet is that a sports based MVNO will be a challenge.”

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