Thursday, February 8, 2007

Mobile ESPN Lives On Through Verizon

The defunct MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) known as Mobile ESPN has found a new life with Verizon Wireless. As an MVNO, Mobile ESPN called it quits in less than a year after gaining only 30,000 subscribers in a 9 month timeframe. Mobile ESPN will no longer operate as an MVNO. Instead it will act as a content provider. Mobile ESPN content will be available to subscribers of Verizon’s Vcast service (currently $15 per month). By downloading the Mobile ESPN application, users will have access to exclusive ESPN content including fantasy team management, video clips, and video of ESPN produced shows like Sportscenter, Cold Pizza, and Pardon the Interruption. When Verizon launches live TV service, Mobile ESPN is expected to be a channel.

The agreement between ESPN and Verizon is a multi-year exclusive agreement. This is noted since the Mobile ESPN MVNO service was provided using Sprint’s network. Sprint even went as far as offering the Mobile ESPN phone through its retail channels before ESPN called it quits. Although terms of the agreement were not disclosed, based on ESPN’s ruthless dealings with the cable companies, I assume this came down to a price issue, where Verizon agreed to fork over more cash than Sprint.

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