ESPN Changes Broadband Game Plan; Will Relaunch ESPN360 With Emphasis On Live Events

57 Comments

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.

57 Comments

Bill

There isn't any mentiion of the international gameplan now. Can you post a link?

HAL

ITS BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!OUR VOICES HAVE BEEN HEARD

EL

I noticed on EPSN Gameplan site there is an international subscriber coming soon. Evidently our voices are being heard. Go on their website and click the link that says send me an update about ESPN Gameplan International. FYI, for all you SEC fans, CSTV annual subscription of $99 will allow you to see the SEC game of the week from the CBS feed all year…good games already slated like FSU-UF, Ala-Aub, LSU-Fl, Tenn-Fl, etc…

botski

And this, my friends, is what happens when corporations get too large for their britches.

I had been an online Gameplan subscriber for a few years now and tried to pay them for another season this year. My ISP, a small company here in Minneapolis, didnt buy ESPN's "Internet ransom" (in fact, the tech people had never heard of such a business model) so I cant pay ESPN my $129 or whatever it costs.

And jeez, maybe they could show a little more poker?

I am done with cable. I tried digital and it took 4 seconds to tune in a channel. Made surfing a frustrating joke. So now I am back at ol analog cable but cant get Gameplan unless I have digital. Oh woopee. What should I do with this extra $70 I will be saving? Maybe give it to the Humane Society so they can catch more Michael Vicks.

Bill
St Paul, MN

Gary

Hey Chris, I downloaded sopcast and it didn't trigger any warnings with my Adaware, SpyBot, or McAfee.

I haven't been able to find the English ESPN channel on it though, most of the content are foreign channels, but I haven't had time to click through all the channels.

Chris

Has anyone tried the link posted above for sopcast.org? I am getting desperate trying to catch the Auburn game tonight, but don't want to take a chance with some malicious software. Any comments or suggestions are appreciated.

Gary

I am with you all. I have done everything from calling ESPN directly to damn near writing my congressman. This sucks because for the last two years since I have been in Doha, I ordered ESPN GamePlan and really enjoyed it. The guy I talked to from ESPN even hd the balls to say, "Yeah the international subscribers were the biggest part of the success of GamePlan." If that's true, Why the hell did you stick a blade in our wind pipes? Life without my Alabama football sucks! Way to go EassPN!

mac

I forgot to say – the picture quality is ok -just don't sit too close or expect gameplan picture quality.
Go Gators!

mac

Florida Gator fans (and other SEC fans), I was hoping to continue with Gameplan online like many others – but my money isn't good enough as an overseas fan.

Check out the game LIVE and FREE on Yahoo.
http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaaf/collegebroadcast

The Gators game is the featured game. Next week Alabama Vandy, week 3 – Auburn. (click on – more SEC games)
I used this a couple of times last year and it worked fine, CBS has the rights to the game of the week, but Yahoo normally has a good game on.

I hope this helps!

Londoner

This sucks. What a joke. I would have happily paid five times what they charged me for Gameplan Online last year. A word of advice: get a friend/family member to set up slingbox for you. Like a prior poster said, if they don't want our money, screw `em.

Gary

What a horrible decision by ESPN. Florida Gator fan here stuck in Canada, and I can't even see the LSU game tonight.

Bring back Gameplan ONLINE ESPN. For the love of humanity!

I'll post back here if I find alternatives. Help us OB1 Kenobi, you're our only hope.

EL

This is horrible!!! I live in London and was looking forward to the online package. My wife (Texas Longhorn alum) and myself (Texas A&M;alum) are really hoping for an alternative solution. Does anyone know if we have access to a valid ATT or Verizon account in the States if we can access Espn 360 through the out-of-network link on their page? I'm sure some family member of ours in the States has one of the two..

FTC

For those of you who don't have 360 access, look into http://www.sopcast.org. It's a free p2p streaming broadcast service and most games you will be able to watch online that way. If ESPN won't sell it to you, just take it.

Cor

Thanks ESPN, thanks Comcast (no 360)….NOT! What a crock…I'm bummed.

Drew D.

As an American expat in Australia (Go Hogs!), I'm similarly peeved. It seems the only way to watch CFB over here is to hook up to a friends Slingbox. Since I live 17 hours ahead of CST, I loved Game Plan so I could watch archived games as well as live ones.

I wrote to ESPN.com on Monday and received this response.

"We are looking for a solution for international subscribers. Please keep checking the web site for updates."

Somewhat encouraging, but I'm not holding my breath.

Drew

Jas

Yes this royally blows. I relied on this last season to watch games from Poland. Now they go and not only kill a lot of the American market, they gave a huge screw you to the rest who live overseas. I'm at loss for words to why in the hell they did this. Apparently their thinking is if you don't live in the U.S. you don't care about college football. Unbelievable.

Seriously who runs that crap of a company. Who honestly thought this would be a good idea.

"No you can't pay us because we only want one large payment."

I'd like to call them a real nice name, but I'd rather not ruin this story.

Chris

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???

Clay

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.

TML

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!

Herminator

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.

TML

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!!!

steven swanson

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….

David

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?

alex hill

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.

Brian

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!

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