WatchESPN (formerly ESPN Networks) is an Internet television website and mobile application operated by ESPN Inc., a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company (which operates the network, through its 80% controlling ownership interest) and the Hearst Communications (which holds the remaining 20% interest).
The service provides streaming simulcasts of ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, ESPN Deportes, Longhorn Network, SEC Network, ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater for select cable television subscribers in the United States; it is also the exclusive platform for broadcasts from ESPN3, which until 2011, had operated as a separate website with a similar functionality to WatchESPN. The service is only available to subscribers of participating cable, IPTV and satellite television providers, and is not offered as a standalone internet-only subscription service available to those who do not have a pay television subscription.
Type of site
|Launched||October 25, 2010|
WatchESPN originally launched on October 25, 2010, when Time Warner Cable became the first cable television provider to offer ESPN Networks, which provided subscribers to ESPN an online simulcast of the channel through a dedicated website. Bright House Networks (for which Time Warner Cable handles distribution agreements) began offering ESPN Networks on November 22, 2010. On January 25, 2011, ESPN Networks added streaming simulcast feeds of ESPN2 and ESPNU, as well as out-of-market sports packages ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater to the website, accessible only to subscribers of those services. Verizon FiOS began providing access to streams on the ESPN Networks website on February 17, 2011.
On April 7, 2011, ESPN released a mobile app called WatchESPN on the App Store for Apple devices, using the same subscriber authentication functionality to allow access to simulcasts of the available ESPN channels on the service via the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch; the app was released on the Android Market (now Google Play) on May 9, 2011. The ESPN Networks website was subsequently rebranded under the WatchESPN name on August 31, 2011 (the "Watch" brand has since been applied to other TV Everywhere applications for television networks owned by ESPN co-owner Disney–ABC Television Group since the launch of the service, including those for ABC, Disney Channel and Freeform). On May 8, 2012, Comcast began allowing authenticated Xfinity TV customers access to WatchESPN's streams via the app, as part of a deal in which the streams available on WatchESPN would also be made available on the XfinityTV.com website. On August 28, 2012, Midco began allowing access to WatchESPN's simulcasts for its customers. Charter Communications added access to the service in mid-February 2013. Dish Network, the first satellite provider to provide access to WatchESPN, announced it had added the service on April 1, 2014.
Longhorn Network and SEC Network programs were added to the service upon SEC Network's launch on August 14, 2014 (Longhorn Network is limited to its distribution area and not available nationwide through WatchESPN). As a result of this, ESPN Classic is the only remaining ESPN network that is not yet available for streaming on the service. ESPN Classic, which is phasing out linear distribution, is set to be added in 2015.
As of June 2017, ESPN has started to demphasize the WatchESPN branding on air in favor of the ESPN app, which also has all the functionality of WatchESPN within the app. Despite this, WatchESPN remains operational albeit with some bugs.
Simulcasts of the ESPN channels available on the WatchESPN app and website (including ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater) are only available to subscribers of pay television providers AT&T U-verse, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Dish Network (including subsidiary Sling TV), Google Fiber, Grande Communications, Midcontinent Communications, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS and Xfinity TV (formerly Comcast Digital Cable); Atlantic Broadband is set to begin allowing access to the service for its customers by the end of 2014. In 2015, as part of a new agreement with The Walt Disney Company, DirecTV (the largest holdout among major pay TV providers) added authentication rights to WatchESPN for its subscribers.
The two major IPTV providers, Sling TV and PlayStation Vue, also offer authentication to WatchESPN; the two services, however, offer the same feeds of the ESPN networks that are carried on the WatchESPN platform (including with selected advertisements replaced by the "We'll Back Right Back" message and black screen), as opposed as the cable/satellite versions of each respective ESPN channel.
ESPN3, a similar service that had operated separately from WatchESPN until it was integrated into the service in 2011, is available through many other cable providers including those listed above. In all cases, a TV Everywhere login (or other login code for university and military customers) through a customer's service provider is required to access the services; ESPN3 is also accessible without login if the user's IP address can be traced to a participating ISP.
The WatchESPN.com website allows fans to view and switch between up to 20 events in a main viewing window, which can exceed the amount of bandwidth that can be handled by most broadband subscribers. Events available on the service that have recently been completed are archived and available for on-demand replay. The WatchESPN player additionally features four modules: Featured Events (which shows viewers highlights of live and upcoming events available on WatchESPN), Stats (which features statistics from the streamed event), the Chat 140 section (which allows fans to discussion the events with other fans), and Facebook connect (which connects fans to their Facebook profile and allows them to both post about the event that they are watching on their wall and discuss the event with other Facebook fans).
WatchESPN is available through the ESPN app for Android and iOS, and the WatchESPN app for Windows Phone. In December 2015, WatchESPN's streaming features were integrated directly into the main ESPN app for Android and iOS, with the standalone WatchESPN app discontinued on these platforms.
On June 19, 2013, the service became available through Apple TV. WatchESPN became available on Roku streaming players on November 12, 2013. Chromecast support was added to the Android and iOS apps as part of an update released on June 3, 2014.
The WatchESPN app became available for download for compatible Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 devices from the Windows Store in February 2014, a version also compatible with Windows 10. Support for the app was withdrawn on June 30, 2017, and currently within the app for those who still have it, any ESPN video links redirect to a browser window.
The 2013 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship was held at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri from March 13 - March 16, 2013. This tournament marked the debut of TCU and West Virginia in the event. First round games were aired on the Big 12 Network, Quarterfinal games were aired on ESPN2 and the Big 12 Network. Semifinal games were available in the conference footprint on the Big 12 Network and outside league markets on ESPNU. All games were carried on WatchESPN, with most also available via ESPN Full Court. The Kansas Jayhawks defeated the Kansas State Wildcats 70-54 in the Championship game, which was televised by ESPN, to receive the Big 12's automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA Tournament. All 10 teams qualified for the tournament, with ties broken by using a tiebreaker system.2013 International Champions Cup
The 2013 International Champions Cup (or ICC) was an exhibition association football tournament played in the United States and Spain. It began on Saturday, July 27 and culminated on Wednesday, August 7. This tournament replaced the World Football Challenge and was staged mainly throughout the United States, and with one match in Valencia, Spain. The participating teams were LA Galaxy of the United States, Real Madrid and Valencia of Spain, Milan, Juventus and Inter Milan of Italy, and Chelsea and Everton of England. In the United States, Fox Soccer televised 11 of 12 matches live, and Fox Sports broadcast one match live on August 3. ESPN Deportes televised all matches live on TV and on WatchESPN in Spanish. Real Madrid won the tournament, defeating Chelsea 3–1 in the final.2016 Atlantic Sun Men's Basketball Tournament
The 2016 Atlantic Sun Men's Basketball Tournament marked the 37th year the league conducted a postseason tournament. The tournament was held March 1–6, 2016 at campus sites as top seeds hosted each round. Florida Gulf Coast won their second Atlantic Sun Tournament title and a berth in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.2017 Atlantic Sun Women's Basketball Tournament
The 2017 Atlantic Sun Women's Basketball Tournament was the 31st edition of the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship. It took place from March 3, 8 and 12, 2017 in several arenas. Florida Gulf Coast won the tournament and received an automatic trip to the NCAA Women's Tournament.ACC Network
ACC Network (ACCN) is an upcoming American cable and satellite television channel that is owned by ESPN Inc. Announced on July 21, 2016, it will be dedicated to coverage of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and will launch on August 22, 2019. The channel will operate from ESPN's headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, though some programming and staff will be based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Ahead of the linear channel's launch and as part of ESPN's new contract with the conference, ESPN launched the digital platform ACC Network Extra on WatchESPN in 2016, which streams ACC events not broadcast on television.ACC Network (Raycom Sports)
ACC Network was a syndicated package of college sports telecasts featuring football and basketball events from the Atlantic Coast Conference, produced by Raycom Sports, the sports syndication unit of Montgomery, Alabama-based Raycom Media (now owned by Gray Television).
The package stemmed from a joint venture between Raycom and Jefferson-Pilot Teleproductions, which acquired the rights to ACC basketball in 1982 under the banner Raycom/JP Sports. In 2004, Jefferson-Pilot's ACC football package (which began in 1984) was also moved under Raycom/JP Sports. Jefferson-Pilot was acquired by Lincoln National Corporation in 2006, who would in turn sell its media assets to Raycom in 2006. In 2010, ESPN acquired the rights to ACC basketball and football, but continued to sub-license games to Raycom Sports to continue the syndicated package, which was relaunched under the ACC Network brand. Broadcast games were shown locally on over-the-air broadcast stations, regional sports networks, as well as streaming on ESPN3 and WatchESPN.In July 2016, ESPN announced an extension of its contract and plans to launch an ACC cable channel of the same name in 2019, and took ownership of the ACC rights that were previously sub-licensed to Raycom. In anticipation of the new channel, the "ACC Network" branding during its syndicated telecasts was phased out in 2018. Although ESPN will continue to subcontract Raycom Sports resources for the new channel, Raycom's final syndicated ACC telecast—the 2019 ACC men's basketball championship game—aired March 16, 2019.Arena Football League on ESPN
The Arena Football League on ESPN is a presentation of the league with games airing on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN3 and ESPN Deportes as with all other sports the ESPN family of networks all Arena Football games air on The WatchESPN App also. It was previously aired from 1987 until 2002 and then again from 2007 until 2008.BAMTech
BAMTech LLC, operating as BAMTech Media and internally known as Disney Streaming Services, is a technology subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company located in Manhattan, New York City. It was established in 2015 as a spin-off of MLB Advanced Media—the digital media arm of Major League Baseball, focused on providing streaming video technology, particularly for over-the-top content (OTT) services. The company's major clients include ESPN (for its WatchESPN service), the NHL, the PGA Tour, Riot Games (for League of Legends e-sports), PlayStation Vue, WWE Network and TheBlaze.
It was majority owned by MLB Advanced Media (which is, in turn, a consortium of MLB's principal team owners), with minority stakes held by the National Hockey League and other investors. Disney acquired a minority stake in the company in August 2016 for $1 billion, and the following year, announced its intent to increase its stake to a 75% controlling stake for $1.58 billion. The deal was approved by regulators in September 2017. Following the acquisition of BAMTech by Disney, the company began to develop two subscription streaming services aligned with Disney properties: the sports-oriented service ESPN+, and the upcoming entertainment service Disney+.Big 12 Network
The Big 12 Network (stylized as the Big XII Network) was a syndicated package featuring live broadcasts of College basketball events from the Big 12 Conference that was broadcast under that branding from 2008 until 2014. It was owned and operated by ESPN Plus, the syndication arm of ESPN, Inc., and was mainly shown in areas in the Big 12’s geographical footprint, along with other areas of the United States. Games were shown locally on broadcast stations, regional sports networks, as well as on ESPN Full Court, and WatchESPN.Cablevision
Cablevision Systems Corporation was an American cable television company with systems serving areas surrounding New York City. It was the fifth-largest cable provider and ninth-largest television provider in the United States. Throughout its existence and in its final years, Cablevision serviced customers residing in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and a small part of Pennsylvania. However, at one time it did provide service in many as 19 states. Cablevision also offered high-speed Internet connections (Optimum Online), digital cable (Optimum TV/IO Digital Cable), and VoIP (Optimum Voice) phone service (the eighth-largest telephone provider in the U.S.) through its Optimum brand name. Cablevision also offered a WiFi-only mobile phone service dubbed Freewheel.
On June 21, 2016, Cablevision was acquired by European telecom conglomerate Altice.ESPN
ESPN (originally an initialism for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network) is a U.S.-based pay television sports channel owned by ESPN Inc., a joint venture owned by The Walt Disney Company (80%) and Hearst Communications (20%). The company was founded in 1979 by Bill Rasmussen along with his son Scott Rasmussen and Ed Egan.
ESPN broadcasts primarily from studio facilities located in Bristol, Connecticut. The network also operates offices in Miami, New York City, Seattle, Charlotte, and Los Angeles. James Pitaro currently serves as chairman of ESPN, a position he has held since March 5, 2018 due to the resignation of John Skipper on December 18, 2017 (who succeeded George Bodenheimer as president in 2012). While ESPN is one of the most successful sports networks, there has been much criticism of ESPN, which includes accusations of biased coverage, conflict of interest, and controversies with individual broadcasters and analysts.
As of January 2016, ESPN is available to approximately 91,405,000 paid television households (78.527% of households with at least one television set) in the United States. Nielsen has reported a much lower number in 2017, below 90,000,000 subscribers, losing more than 10,000 a day. In addition to the flagship channel and its seven related channels in the United States, ESPN broadcasts in more than 200 countries, operating regional channels in Australia, Brazil, Latin America and the United Kingdom, and owning a 20% interest in The Sports Network (TSN) as well as its five sister networks in Canada.
In 2011, ESPN's history and rise was chronicled in Those Guys Have All the Fun, a nonfiction book written by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales and published by Little, Brown and Company.ESPN3
ESPN3 (formerly ESPN360 and ESPN3.com) is an online streaming service owned by ESPN Inc., a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company (which operates the network, through its 80% controlling ownership interest) and the Hearst Communications (which holds the remaining 20% interest), that provides live streams and replays of global sports events to sports fans in the United States.ESPN Classic
ESPN Classic is an American pay television network that is owned by ESPN Inc., a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company (which owns a controlling 80% stake) and Hearst Communications (which owns 20%). The channel features rebroadcasts of famous sporting events, sports documentaries and sports-themed movies. Such programs include biographies of famous sports figures or a rerun of a marquee World Series or Super Bowl game, often with added commentary on the event.
On October 1, 2014, ESPN Classic began a gradual transition into a video on demand-only service, with Dish Network becoming the first to discontinue carriage of the linear channel and carry it as a VOD service on that date. Other providers will follow suit on an unknown timetable. In December 2017, cable companies Comcast Xfinity and Altice USA dropped the ESPN Classic linear channel from their TV lineups. On February 4, 2019, Verizon FiOS removed the channel from the lineup.ESPN Events
ESPN Events is an American sporting event promoter owned by ESPN Inc. It is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and shares its operations with SEC Network and formerly with ESPNU. The corporation organizes sporting events for broadcast across the ESPN family of networks, including, most prominently, a group of college football bowl games and in-season college basketball tournaments.
ESPN Events previously operated primarily as a syndicator of college sports broadcasts; the company was founded as Creative Sports, a sports programming syndicator that merged with Don Ohlmeyer's OCC Sports in 1996. After ESPN purchased the merged company, the division was renamed ESPN Regional Television (ERT), which distributed telecasts for syndication on broadcast stations and regional sports networks; these telecasts were also available on the ESPN GamePlan and ESPN Full Court out-of-market sports packages. Most of ERT's broadcasts were presented under the on-air branding ESPN Plus, but this name was later phased out in favor of dedicated on-air brands for each package, such as SEC Network (not to be confused with the current SEC Network cable channel).
Following its acquisition of the Las Vegas Bowl in 2001, ERT began to double as an organizer of sporting events. The subdivision, which later began to operate under the name ESPN Events, would acquire and establish other bowl games to provide additional post-season opportunities for bowl-eligible teams (and in turn, additional content for ESPN's networks). ESPN Events also organizes several pre-season tournaments in college basketball, as well as the season-opening Camping World Kickoff and Texas Kickoff football games.ESPN Regional Television began to wind down its syndication operations in the 2010s, as the proliferation of competing outlets (including other sports channels, conference-specific networks such as ESPN's own SEC Network, as well as digital services such as ESPN's own ESPN3 and WatchESPN platforms) took over most of the conference rights and overflow formerly held by the company.ESPN Full Court
ESPN Full Court was an out-of-market sports package in the United States that carried college basketball games. The package consisted of about 150 games annually, from the season tipoff in November to the first two rounds of the NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship in mid- to late-March. The suggested retail price was $109 for the entire season, $75 for a half-season (only available in late January), and $19.95 for a single day. The season package was renewable. Full-season packages were not available for the online version.
On August 28, 2015, the channel was replaced by ESPN College Extra and the package was much less promoted or available than it has been in the past with the drawing down of pay-per-view to select special events; all of Full Court's events are available through WatchESPN via various ESPN3 streams without cost through TV Everywhere authentication.ESPN Megacast
Megacast, formerly known as ESPN Full Circle, is a multi-network simulcast of a single sporting event across multiple ESPN networks and services—with each feed providing a different version of the telecast making use of different features, functions or perspectives. Eleven networks and services have been involved with these specials, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPNU, ESPN Radio, ESPN Mobile, ESPN3/WatchESPN, ESPN.com, ESPN Brasil, TSN/RDS, ESPN International and ESPN Deportes.
ESPN Full Circle debuted with ESPN Full Circle: North Carolina at Duke on March 4, 2006, on the one-year anniversary of ESPNU. The game was the North Carolina Tar Heels at the Duke Blue Devils in college basketball. Five further Full Circle broadcasts were produced (one NBA playoff game, one NASCAR race and three more college basketball games) before the format was discontinued in 2007.
After a seven-year hiatus, full-circle broadcasts resumed under the Megacast branding in 2014. To date, the feature has primarily been used for college football since the revival.MLB Advanced Media
MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) is a limited partnership of the club owners of Major League Baseball (MLB) based in New York City and is the Internet and interactive branch of the league.
Robert Bowman, president and CEO of MLBAM, indicated in May 2012 that MLBAM generates around $620 million a year in revenue. Forbes went as far as calling the company "the Biggest Media Company You've Never Heard Of".The company operates the official web site for the league and the thirty Major League Baseball club web sites via MLB.com, which draws four million hits per day. The site offers news, standings, statistics, and schedules, and subscribers have access to live audio and video broadcasts of most games. The company also employs reporters, with one assigned to each team for the season and others serving more general beats. MLB Advanced Media also owns and operates BaseballChannel.tv and MLB Radio.
MLBAM also runs and/or owns the official web sites of Minor League Baseball, YES Network (the television broadcaster of the New York Yankees), SportsNet New York (the television broadcaster of the New York Mets). It has also provided the backend infrastructure for WWE Network, WatchESPN, ESPN3, HBO Now, and PGA Tour Live.MLBAM as of January 2018 also is involved with video game development, production and publication, they currently own the IP of the R.B.I. Baseball franchise and had produced and published R.B.I. Baseball 14, 15, 16 and 17 and developed, produced and published R.B.I. Baseball 18, as a result, the MLB is the only major sports league that is producing its own video game.SEC Network
The SEC Network is an American sports network that is owned by ESPN Inc., a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company (which operates the network, through its 80% controlling ownership interest) and the Hearst Communications (which holds the remaining 20% interest). The channel is dedicated to coverage of collegiate sports sanctioned by the Southeastern Conference (SEC) including live and recorded event telecasts, news, analysis programs, and other content focusing on the conference's member schools. The network is estimated to have 70 million subscribers, more that any other dedicated sports network. The network's coverage serves as the successor to an eponymous syndication package (later renamed SEC TV), which was produced by its syndication arm ESPN Regional Television. SEC Network is operated out of ESPN facilities in Charlotte, North Carolina, shared with ESPN Events and formerly ESPNU. While Charlotte is not an SEC market itself, it is in close proximity to universities that are members of the conference and shares a television market with the northern part of South Carolina, which is part of the South Carolina Gamecocks' television market.SEC TV
SEC TV (formerly SEC Network) was a syndicated package featuring live broadcasts of college football and basketball events from the Southeastern Conference. It was owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television and shown in more than 50 percent of households in the United States, mostly Southeastern United States markets. SEC TV's football games typically aired in the noon eastern slot that was former home to the Jefferson-Pilot/Raycom Sports SEC game of the week. Games were shown locally on broadcast stations, regional sports networks, as well as on ESPN GamePlan, ESPN Full Court, and WatchESPN.
SEC TV was replaced with a 24-hour cable network devoted to the conference, also named SEC Network, after the 2013–14 college sports season. The new SEC Network would assume the duty of broadcasting football games in the "early" window used by SEC TV.
|Sports broadcasting rights|