ESPN today announced a new way for Sprint customers to access all things ESPN with one simple click. Part of Sprint ID, a service that downloads apps, widgets, wallpapers, ringtones and other content related to a person’s interest at the push of a button, ESPN’s ID pack allows fans to connect to their favorite teams and sports directly from the device’s home screen.
Owners of select Sprint devices such as LG Optimus S™, Sanyo Zio™, Samsung Transform™ and other upcoming Sprint devices will be able to choose the ESPN ID pack for instant access to scores right on their home screen, as well as have one-tap access to sports news, fantasy teams and their favorite ESPN programs including more than 900 live events per year on ESPN Mobile TV. Users can customize their device even further by choosing from a variety of ESPN wallpapers and ringtones.
“Collaborating with Sprint has allowed us to offer our audience a robust mobile experience that lets them stay in touch with everything they love about ESPN even when they’re away from their TV or computer,” said Matt Murphy, Senior Vice President of Digital Distribution at ESPN. “Sprint ID is an innovative concept that allows us to design a package of content that sports fans will appreciate when they’re away from home, such as checking the scores or watching their favorite sports. Sprint ID makes it convenient for them to get all the ESPN content they want with one click – eliminating the time and hassle of searching for everything themselves.”
The ESPN ID pack includes access to:
- ScoreCenter: Keep up with the latest scores and stats from 500 leagues around the world with the ESPN ScoreCenter app. With ScoreCenter, fans never miss another goal, run, or touchdown.
- Video On Demand: Watch news and analysis from ESPN’s experts whenever and wherever.
- ESPN Mobile TV: Catch the latest sports news and highlights, fan favorite studio shows, and more than 900 live events per year.
- Fantasy Sports: Connect to ESPN Fantasy teams on the go. With one-tap Fantasy access, it’s never been easier to check on an injury, make a substitution or accept a trade.
- ESPN Extras: Download wallpaper, ringtones, notifications and alarms from a variety of ESPN programs including SportsCenter, Pardon The Interruption, SportsNation and more.
For the second straight year, in 2010 ESPN and ESPN2 each posted their most-viewed year, as did the combination of ESPN networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic and ESPN Deportes), according to Nielsen. ESPN capped the year with its most-watched quarter ever and for the year led all cable networks in total-day delivery in key male demos – men 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54.
ESPN averaged 880,000 homes on a 24-hour basis, up six percent from 2009, the previous record. ESPN set a new viewership record in all four quarters and finished strong as the fourth quarter registered as its most-viewed quarter in history. The 24-hour average for the quarter was 1,140,000 homes, up eight percent from the last year’s previous best, and November was ESPN’s most-watched month of all time. It was also ESPN’s most-viewed year in prime time, an average of 1,778,000 homes, up three percent from the record set last year.
ESPN’s fourth quarter and prime-time ratings were boosted once again by Monday Night Football – it posted its highest-rated season since moving to ESPN and cable’s 16 biggest audiences of 2010 to rank eighth among all television shows in primetime (cable or broadcast) – and NFL studio programming. Other strong performers included college football and NBA games, as well as continued growth for the network’s flagship program, SportsCenter.
ESPN2 averaged 276,000 homes on a total-day basis, edging last year’s 275,000 for a new record. For the fourth quarter, the network averaged 307,000 homes, a record for the quarter and up seven percent from 2009, the previous high. September was the network’s most-watched month in history.
ESPN’s six networks combined to average a record 1,282,000 homes on a 24-hour basis in 2010, an increase of five percent over last year.
ESPNU nearly doubled its audience from a year ago once year-to-year comparisons were available in October.
ESPN Deportes was again the most-watched U.S. Spanish-language sports network this year, and ranked second among all Spanish-language cable networks for viewership among Hispanic men.
ESPN has launched its ScoreCenter application, popular on devices like the iPhone and iPad, to Internet-enabled televisions. ScoreCenter will first be available on Samsung Internet-enabled TVs via the Samsung Apps store, the world’s first HDTV-based application store.
The application provides fans with the ability to view scores and stats from a variety of sports with a touch of a button. Scoreboards and live game details can expand to include in-game stats, scores and schedules. Personalization features allow fans to customize their ScoreCenter experience by highlighting their favorite teams and leagues. Fans can also position the application to suit their preference, including across the top, bottom or sides of the screen. The video image adjusts accordingly, depending on the placement of the app.
“Bringing the ScoreCenter application from mobile devices to televisions shows how good content and utility can start on any screen,” said Sean Bratches, executive vice president, sales and marketing, ESPN. “This was a natural progression of a great product and one more way we’re serving sports fans.”
“Sports fans are passionate consumers who often demand the best entertainment and media experience in their living rooms. With the release of ESPN ScoreCenter app, our second collaboration with ESPN, Samsung continues to deliver on its commitment to give people the flexibility to enjoy a quality media and content experience when and where they want it,” said Eric Anderson, vice president of content and product solutions, Samsung Electronics America, Inc. “Fans no longer need to step away from their Samsung TV to check the latest sports scores and stats because of this innovative app.”
ESPN and Xbox 360 are delivering a new and unique interactive experience for college football bowl season. In a new software update to ESPN on Xbox LIVE available today, sports fans will be able to engage in this year’s bowl games – available live on ESPN3.com – by playing the College Bowl Showdown pick ‘em against other friends on the Xbox 360 console. Users predict who will win each game, earn a score for predictions and compete against friends to determine a winner.
Additionally, users can now “play all” when viewing ESPN.com video clips and highlights, allowing them to watch featured highlights in one seamless video, or even watch a continuous reel of highlights based on the sports and leagues they select via “My Sports.”
Xbox LIVE Gold members who are customers of an affiliated service provider will have access to 32 bowl games live this season on Xbox 360 via ESPN3.com – ESPN’s 24/7 broadband sports network – including all five BCS bowl games highlighted by the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game, #1 Auburn vs. #2 Oregon. For a full schedule of 2010-11 bowl games live on ESPN3.com, click HERE.
ESPN on Xbox LIVE is free for Xbox LIVE Gold members. Users of this service will be able to watch sports and events with full DVR control, pull up current scores while watching the game, easily switch between events and more.
ESPN has acquired substantially all of the intellectual property of PVI Virtual Media Services, located in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. The acquisition will augment ESPN’s innovative use of virtual technology across its multiple platforms. Under this agreement, ESPN will hire substantially all of the highly-talented staff of engineers who have developed many of PVI’s virtual innovations. As a result of the transaction, ESPN will hold the rights to substantially all of PVI’s intellectual property including intellectual property which relates to virtual insertion, player tracking, iTV applications as well as 3D graphics development. In addition, certain rights to PVI’s technology have been separately sold to a third party.
“This is another acquisition that augments ESPN’s leadership position in innovation and technology development,” said Chuck Pagano, executive vice president, ESPN technology. “PVI has developed some of the television industry’s leading virtual content, and now the addition of their engineering team will help ESPN continue to invent ground-breaking production enhancements for our fans.”
PVI General Manager Jay DiGiovanni stated: “PVI has changed the way people watch sports and entertainment with its virtual insertion technology and we have no doubt that ESPN, as a programming leader, will find new and exciting ways to use this groundbreaking technology to enhance their content even further for their viewers.”
PVI Virtual Media Services is a global pioneer and leader in creating and providing real-time, vision-based, virtual image entertainment technology that enhances and transforms the television viewing experience. PVI’s patented technology allows broadcast, cable and broadband networks to insert computer-generated images into live or pre-recorded video broadcasts of events, sports contests and other television programming.
Earlier this year, ESPN technology acquired Vistas Unlimited, which bolstered its virtual design team. It also developed the technology needed to launch ESPN 3D, the industry’s first 3D network. The company’s focus on technology advancement also led to the October 2009 opening of its Innovation Lab at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. The lab provides ESPN a real-world testing ground to continue developing new ground-breaking on-air products. Additionally, ESPN has continued to jointly develop and implement a virtual playbook of sports plays.
During the game, the team will premiere the ’4-pointer,’ a shot taken at a distance of 35 feet from the hoop which is almost 12 feet away beyond the NBA’s current 3-point arc.
‘The Globetrotters have been at the forefront of basketball’s evolution throughout the sport´s history,’ said Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider. ‘From the alley-oop to the slam dunk to the behind-the-back pass, the Globetrotters have long brought innovations to basketball that are now staples of the game, and we’re confident the 4-point shot will change the game of basketball going forward.’
Throughout their 2011 North American tour, which will travel to 220 cities in 46 U.S. states and six Canadian provinces between December 26 and April 17, every Globetrotters game will feature two designated 4-point shooting spots on each side of midcourt. The 4-point option is expected to further open up the playing floor for the Globetrotters as well as their opponents, the Generals, and is expected to generate even more high-scoring action and competitive play.
ESPN Inc., announced Tuesday that it has finalized the sale of BASS, LLC to a group of investors including Don Logan, Jerry McKinnis and Jim Copeland. An agreement in principle was announced in August by ESPN and the transaction was completed Monday.
BASS is the largest membership organization of bass anglers in the U.S. with more than 500,000 members. It was purchased by ESPN in 2001 and includes several media platforms, including three magazines and a popular web site. The investor group is a powerful combination of business acumen and superior knowledge of the outdoors industry.
With the completion of the transaction, the purchasing party assumes ownership of BASS and will run the Celebration, Fla.,-based company. As part of the agreement, ESPN will continue to air BASS core television programming assets – the Bassmaster Elite Series and Bassmaster Classic – for multiple years.
“We are proud of our employees’ contribution to BASS this past decade and we are pleased to continue ESPN’s association going forward,” said George Bodenheimer, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, ESPN. Inc. “Under the direction of Don Logan, Jerry McKinnis and Jim Copeland, BASS will be well positioned to serve angler’s interests for many years to come.”
Investor and outdoorsman McKinnis has a long and rich history with ESPN as the host of the network’s second longest-running show, The Fishin’ Hole, which aired from 1980 until 2007. McKinnis, who has been involved in outdoors television since hosting a fishing show for KATV in Little Rock, Ark., in 1964, has developed a special connection with outdoorsman and anglers with his innovative programming and accessibility.
“This is a dream come true,” said McKinnis. “I’m so excited to begin working with BASS’ passionate membership base on developing an even more powerful organization.”
Retired Time Inc., executive and avid angler Logan at one time oversaw Time Inc., America Online, Time Warner Cable and the Time Warner Book Group before his retirement from the media giant in 2005.
Logan’s varied experience in the media industry set up well for guiding a complex brand that boasts several multi media platforms.
“With a strong multimedia portfolio, BASS is well positioned to serve fans with innovative content,” said Logan. “We are focused on maintaining BASS’ leadership position in the industry.”
Georgia native Copeland retired as U.S. and Global CEO of international financial services firm Deloitte in 2003 and currently serves on the board of directors of three Fortune 500 companies.
The investor group has put a premium on focusing on issues that resonate at a grassroots level. BASS will continue to spearhead positive, progressive change on issues related to conservation and resource management.
BASS was founded in 1968 by Ray Scott.
Playdom and ESPN Games Launch ‘ESPNU College Town’ on Facebook Featuring Assets from Dozens of Real Schools
Playdom, in collaboration with ESPN Games, today launched a sports-themed social game on Facebook titled ESPNU College Town. Fun, engaging and easy to play,ESPNU College Town gives sports fans a chance to create and run their own virtual college campus, build an elite athletic program, and compete against their friends for bragging rights.
Sports fans in the game are given all the tools to create their own university, complete with academic buildings, major athletic venues – including football stadiums and basketball arenas – and ESPN-branded assets such as an ESPN College GameDay set and production truck. Other buildings and campus must-haves include dorms, a fraternity/sorority row, student unions, restaurants, libraries, walkways, streets, parking lots and more.
Also, fans can play the role of Athletic Director by recruiting fictional star athletes to build a top sports program ready to go head-to-head against other ESPNU College Town teams. Fans compete for points and bragging rights by matching up against other friends in the game.
To make each ESPNU College Town their very own, fans have access to authentic assets from more than 60 real universities, including iconic campus buildings, nationally recognized stadiums, mascots, logos and more. As fans gain points and move up levels, sports venues can be upgraded from simple fields with bleachers to state-of-the-art domed stadiums with lights, Astroturf, JumboTrons, box seats and more.
“ESPNU College Town presents a huge opportunity for us to reach a broad audience of both casual and hardcore sports fans, and we look forward to rolling out other social games within the sports category,” said Raphael Poplock, vice president of games and revenue strategy & development, ESPN Digital Media. “The possibilities are endless when it comes to the creative, sports-themed social games we can produce, and this is only the beginning of what we have in development with Playdom.”
Facebook users can play the game at: http://apps.facebook.com/espnucollegetown/
The Winnipeg Free Press recently reported on a report that one of the tee shirts sold by ESPN’s X Games Clothing Line, exclusively in Canada, is covered in apparent dialogue as a design element which contained an expletive as well as including the line ‘we started egging some trannies and that was some fun.’
According to the article, the offending shirt was sold in youth sizes 2-6 and has subsequently been recalled, pulled from the shelf and destroyed. According to an article from Global License, the line of clothing is produced by Total Kids Wear.
Making its debut at a Grand Slam tennis event, ESPN’s SpiderCam at the US Open has taken viewers where they’ve never gone before for dramatic shots of Arthur Ashe Stadium. The aerial camera system – which is exclusive to ESPN2 and its approximately 100 hours of US Open action – is suspended by four thin Kevlar ropes connected to large winches via pulleys high above the court surface on light poles at the four corners of the world’s largest tennis arena. It moves in three dimensions, ranging from as low as one meter off the court to 33 meters high, from beyond one end of the court to the other and from side to side. The camera can pan, tilt, zoom and focus, with the images sent via fiber optics wiring within the Kevlar roping.
“We are always seeking new ways to bring the viewer closer to the action and the athletes and SpiderCam has provided an exciting new perspective of the grandeur, ambience and size of Arthur Ashe Stadium,” said Jamie Reynolds, vice president, ESPN event production.
In addition to walk-ons, changeovers, coin tosses, ceremonies and post-match interviews, SpiderCam has been used to advance the viewers’ understanding of the game. “We have started using SpiderCam as a live camera source, bringing a cinematic approach to the coverage,” Reynolds said. “As an analytical device we are using it for replays directly overhead, and then taking it into new areas, as we tie it to use of the Orad MVP tracking technology. This allows us new perspectives to breakdown strategy and deconstruct points.”
Images courtesy of ESPN