Jeff Cravens, who joined ESPN in 2006, has been appointed VP/GM. He told me by email that live programming over the last few months already has upped interest: “Through the end of July, we’ve had more than 337,000 people fill out the online form requesting the service, with more than 163,000 of them sending emails to their high speed distributors.” Cravens said the combination of usage and demand led to the strategic change towards live programming.
Stream stats: Recent live event coverage … more than 500,000 streams served for UEFA Champions League soccer matches; nearly 320,000 for the 2007 UEFA Under-21 soccer tournament; more than 250,000 for both the FIFA Under-20 World Cup and the 2007 Wimbledon tennis tournament; nearly 85,000 for NASCAR Busch series races. But the network also says ESPN360.com currently serves tens of thousands of streams for many of its live online events. One ESPN exec compares the variety of programming –everything from the recently acquired NBA rights to international rugby, Arena Football and open wheel racing — to the early days of ESPN. That comparison works for the audience sizes as well — all over the place and sometimes pretty small.