With the world’s richest soccer league, England’s Premier League, kicking off this weekend, mobile and online are set to play a bigger part than ever this season. ESPN (NYSE: DIS) and Perform Group are launching new pay-for apps, while ESPN has secured more rights to show live matches on TV and online in the U.S..
— ESPN is launching ESPN Goals, a free iPhone and Android app with news and live scores plus, for £3.99pm or £29.99pa, including mobile video highlights within minutes of scoring. ESPN recently outbid BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) for these mobile video highlights rights for the full season, running for three seasons from this weekend.
— ESPN is also sub-licensing live U.S. multimedia rights for up to 74 matches per season, from U.S. TV rightsholder Fox Sports. Matches will be shown across ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com, and ESPN Mobile TV, another three-season deal. ESPN3.com, the former ESPN360, is now considered ESPN’s third live channel, but internet-only, available to around 50 million customers whose ISPs have a licensing deal with ESPN.
— Back in the UK, Perform Group is launching iPhone, Android, Ovi and Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) 360 apps for 16 Premier League, Football League and Scottish Premier League clubs, with video highlights, interviews, live scores, audio and commentary, tables and stats, priced £2.39pm, £6.49/qtr or £24.99pa. Perform had already launched apps for Spurs, Sunderland and Newcastle.
ESPN entered the UK a couple of seasons ago, when it bought two packages of 23 live TV matches, but this season it has only one package. It’s also acquired rights to archive matches for VOD, but has not yet announced how it will exploit these.