Tag Archives: ESPN

Re-Imagined ESPN App—with ESPN+ Direct-to-Consumer Streaming Service—Launches Today

The new ESPN App launches today with a completely re-imagined experience that includes the seamless integration of ESPN+, the first-ever multi-sport, direct-to-consumer premium subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International group, in partnership with ESPN. The innovative new app elevates the digital sports experience and becomes the premier, all-in-one digital sports platform for fans, giving them easy access to all of ESPN’s news, scores, analysis, video and audio content. With enhanced design and mobility in mind, the new ESPN app and ESPN+ are available across mobile and connected living room devices—with an optimized experience for each platform.

“This next-generation app is ESPN’s most sophisticated and elegant digital product experience, and a central piece of our next era of innovation,” said James Pitaro, ESPN President and Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks. “No one is in a better position than ESPN to serve sports fans. With this launch, fans will find a re-imagined, easy to use and increasingly personalized experience that puts all of ESPN’s incredible content at their fingertips like never before. With the exciting introduction of ESPN+, they’ll also get more sports content than ever, with direct access to thousands of live games, incredible original programs and an unmatched on-demand library, all at a great price.”

On mobile devices, sports fans will enjoy a highly personalized content experience that begins on the home screen, which features a dynamic feed of relevant ESPN content and coverage—including scores, news, video clips, live events, statistics and more—that balances what is important to each individual fan and the most compelling content that ESPN knows sports fans need. The mobile app also offers three tiers of video access, all powered by BAMTECH Media’s best-in-class video platform: video clips and highlights for all users; “TV Everywhere Streaming” of live and on-demand content from ESPN’s U.S. linear and digital networks for pay TV subscribers; and ESPN+, for the direct-to-consumer streaming service’s subscribers.

Kevin Mayer, Chairman, Direct-to-Consumer and International, The Walt Disney Company, added, “The launch of ESPN+ marks a new era of innovation for The Walt Disney Company, defined by a direct and personal relationship with our consumers. This product reflects our new direct-to-consumer strategy focused on combining our incomparable brands and unmatched content with industry-leading technology to give users an unparalleled digital experience. With BAMTECH Media’s state-of-the-art video platform, ESPN+ delivers an incredible experience for fans with a rich slate of content only ESPN can deliver.”

ESPN+, which is backed by American Express at launch, leverages BAMTECH Media’s video and commerce platform to offer fans thousands of additional live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks. ESPN+ delivers an unparalleled programming lineup powered by four key pillars of content that includes live sports events from MLB, NHL, MLS, college sports, Top Rank Boxing, PGA Tour golf and more; high-quality original shows and films, including the 30 for 30 documentary “The Last Knight,” the first in the award-winning series to appear exclusively on ESPN+; exclusive studio programs, such as Detail, written, produced and hosted by NBA legend Kobe Bryant; and an unmatched on-demand library that includes the entire 30 for 30 archive, the best of ESPN’s award-winning newsmagazine program, E:60, and storytelling brand, SC Featured, and The Masters films, annual recaps of 57 years of The Masters, beginning with Arnold Palmer’s 1960 victory, and going right up until 2017.

“For the launch of ESPN+, our focus has been on applying the innovations in direct-to-consumer technology we’ve built at BAMTECH over the years to create an all-new best-in-class consumer experience that brings sports fans more of the content they love, wherever, whenever they want,” added Michael Paull, President, BAMTECH Media. “ESPN+ launches with several exciting product features, including an upgraded HD stream quality to make the action crisper and cleaner, and decreased video load time, getting fans into the live action faster.”

ESPN+ subscribers will receive app and streaming experience enhancements such as HD streaming; functionality that allows users to pause, rewind, restart and even multitask while streaming; limited advertising throughout the entire ESPN App or website; as well as the ability to also subscribe to additional premium streaming services like MLB.TV (and NHL.TV, beginning in 2018–19), all within the ESPN app environment.

The new ESPN App delivers a unique experience to every fan, while also enabling meaningful curation and presentation from ESPN’s unmatched storytellers, journalists and content creators. The app’s new design delivers a rich, easy-to-use interface that enhances personalization and discoverability—presenting content in a myriad of ways to customize it to each individual fan. The powerful technological platform surfaces ESPN content based on favorite teams, sports and leagues, as well as ESPN’s award-winning journalism and personalities.

The new ESPN App, which is presented at launch by Audi, delivers a dynamic and comprehensive sports streaming experience on digital living room devices, as well—including a dedicated ESPN+ section surfacing the best live, upcoming, on-demand and library content available to subscribers; as well as access to ESPN’s entire library of available on-demand content.

The ESPN App with ESPN+ launches today on the following devices and platforms, with more to follow:

  • Amazon: Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire TV smart TVs and Fire Tablets (4th generation and newer)
  • Apple: iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. The ESPN App with ESPN+ will also be supported in the Apple TV Appon iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.
  • Google: Android phones, Android TV and Chromecast

ESPN+ is available for a seven-day free trial, followed by a subscription fee of just $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year, with the ability to cancel at any time. During the first week of launch (April 12–18), fans are being offered a special extended 30-day free trial subscription backed by American Express.

To learn more about the new ESPN App and ESPN+, visit ESPNMediaZone.


ESPN+ Subscription Streaming Service Launches April 12

ESPN+, the upcoming direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International in partnership with ESPN and featuring ESPN branded content, will launch on April 12 and offer fans a dynamic lineup of live sports, original content and an unmatched library of award-winning on-demand programming – all for a subscription price of $4.99 per month.

ESPN+ will be an integrated part of a completely redesigned and reimagined ESPN App that will be the premier all-in-one digital sports platform for fans. ESPN+ will also be available through ESPN.com. The new ESPN App and ESPN+ showcase the culture of breakthrough innovation at ESPN and across The Walt Disney Company.

James Pitaro, ESPN President and Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks, said, “ESPN was built on a belief in innovation and the powerful connection between sports and a remarkable array of fans. That same belief is at the heart of ESPN+ and the new ESPN App. With ESPN+, fans have access to thousands more live games, world class original programs and on-demand sports content, all at a great price. They will get all of that as a part of a completely re-imagined, increasingly personalized ESPN App that provides easy, one-stop access to everything ESPN offers.”

ESPN+ is the first direct-to-consumer service offering from Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International, the multiplatform media, technology and distribution organization for high-quality content created by Disney’s Media Networks and Studio Entertainment groups. A Disney-branded direct-to-consumer service, offering subscription-video-on-demand viewing of Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm movies along with a host of exclusive content, will launch in late 2019. Both streaming services are powered by BAMTECH, a unit of Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International.

Kevin Mayer, Chairman, Direct-to-Consumer and International, The Walt Disney Company said, “The launch of ESPN+ marks the beginning of an exciting new era of innovation for our media businesses – one defined by an increasingly direct and personal relationship with consumers. This new product reflects our direct-to-consumer strategy focused on combining our beloved brands with our proprietary, industry-leading technology to give users unparalleled access to our world-class content.”

The ESPN+ programming lineup will offer sports fans great value, with four key pillars of content:

1. Thousands of live sports events
2. High-quality original shows and films
3. Exclusive studio programs
4. An unmatched on-demand library

Michael Paull, President, BAMTECH Media, said, “ESPN+ will connect fans directly to sports they love wherever and whenever they want. Together, BAMTECH’s industry-leading direct-to-consumer video platform and capabilities combined with ESPN’s unmatched sports content will deliver fans an all-new streaming experience with exciting product features built for watching incredible live and on-demand sports.”

Additional details about the array of content in the ESPN+ programming lineup will be announced in the coming days and weeks, but among the thousands of live sports events that ESPN+ will offer to fans are:

  • MLB – MORE THAN 180 GAMES; A GAME PER DAY THROUGHOUT SEASON: ESPN+ will feature an ESPN+ MLB game each day, seven days per week, throughout the MLB regular season – more than 180 games that will include every MLB team.*
  • NHL – MORE THAN 180 GAMES; GAME OF THE DAY THROUGHOUT REGULAR SEASON: Beginning with the 2018-19 NHL season, subscribers to ESPN+ will get a daily NHL game throughout the NHL regular season (in keeping with the NHL schedule) – more than 180 hockey games.*
  • BOXING – YEAR-ROUND SCHEDULE, INCLUDES EXCLUSIVE KHAN VS. LO GRECO BOUT: ESPN+ is a key part of ESPN’s multi-platform Top Rank Boxing on ESPN boxing agreement and will feature high-quality boxing throughout the year, including a selection of exclusive main event fights beginning with the April 21 Amir Khan vs. Phil Lo Greco bout in Liverpool, England. In addition, ESPN+ will feature undercard fights throughout the year from Top Rank on ESPN events, re-airs of all Top Rank on ESPN and PPV events and an unmatched library of legendary fights from the Top Rank and ESPN Big Fights archives.
  • MLS – MORE THAN 250 GAMES: At launch, ESPN+ will include exclusive access for subscribers to the entire MLS Live out-of-market schedule, featuring more than 250 games,* through their subscription. Before launch, fans can access free MLS out-of-market games streaming live on MLSsoccer.com and the MLS App. Additionally, ESPN+ will be the exclusive local-market home for the Chicago Fire, bringing 27 Fire matches to fans in Chicago.
  • COLLEGE SPORTS – THOUSANDS OF GAMES AND EVENTS, MULTIPLE SPORTS, ACROSS NEARLY TWO DOZEN CONFERENCES: The ESPN+ lineup will be rich with thousands of live college sports events, including football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, track & field, gymnastics, swimming & diving, lacrosse, wrestling, volleyball, golf and more — from over a dozen conferences across the country including the America East, ASun, Big South, Big West, Horizon, Ivy League, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, Missouri Valley, NEC, Southern Conference, Southland, Summit League, Sun Belt, WAC and many more.
    • SPRING SPORTS
      • COLLEGE BASEBALL & SOFTBALL: ESPN+ will help college baseball and softball fans see more games than ever before, with hundreds more games from across the college ranks streamed live, exclusively on ESPN+.
      • LACROSSE, TENNIS AND TRACK & FIELD: ESPN+ will carry dozens of events from across conferences this spring.
    • FALL SPORTS
      • COLLEGE FOOTBALL: ESPN+ will include hundreds of college football games each season from across more than a dozen conferences in the FBS and FCS.
      • MEN’S AND WOMEN’S SOCCER, VOLLEYBALL, FIELD HOCKEY: ESPN+ will have hundreds of games this fall from soccer, volleyball and field hockey as the 2018-19 academic year gets underway.
    • WINTER SPORTS
      • COLLEGE BASKETBALL: College hoops fans will get hundreds of men’s and women’s games every season on ESPN+ from all across the college basketball landscape – from division one powerhouses to top mid-majors to the next tournament Cinderella and more.
      • COLLEGE WRESTLING, SWIMMING & DIVING, GYMNASTICS AND ICE HOCKEY: Fans of winter Olympic sports will get hundreds of games from a variety of conference partners nationwide exclusively on ESPN+.
  • PGA TOUR LIVE GOLF – MORE THAN 100 DAYS OF COVERAGE FROM 31 PGA TOUR EVENTS: Golf fans will be able to follow the PGA TOUR throughout the year, with more than 100 days of live coverage from 31 PGA TOUR events, including THE PLAYERS Championship, the FedEx Cup Playoffs, AT&T Byron Nelson, AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Travelers Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational and dozens more. Coverage will include Thursday, Friday and some Saturday and Sunday play during the events.
  • GRAND SLAM TENNIS – HUNDREDS OF TENNIS MATCHES FROM WIMBLEDON, US OPEN & AUSTRALIAN OPEN: Tennis fans will have access to more of the action than ever at three of the annual Grand Slam tennis events. With hundreds of men’s and women’s singles and doubles matches, ESPN+ will be the perfect complement for every passionate tennis fan.
  • RUGBY & CRICKET – HUNDREDS OF MATCHES FROM INTERNATIONAL RUGBY AND CRICKET: ESPN+ will serve rugby and cricket fans in the U.S. with more of their beloved sports, throughout the year. Rugby fans will get matches from SANZAAR (including Super Rugby, The Rugby Championship, the Lions Series, Mitre10 Cup, Currie Cup, Bledisloe Cup and other international matches), the HSBC World Rugby Sevens series, and 18 regular-season matches in the inaugural season of Major League Rugby, the new American professional rugby union league. Meanwhile, passionate cricket fans across the U.S. will get matches across Test, ODI and T20 formats from New Zealand Cricket and Cricket Ireland.

In addition to the hundreds of NHL and MLB games included in the ESPN+ subscription ($4.99/month, or $49.99/year), die-hard fans will be able to purchase the entire MLB.TV out-of-market package via ESPN+ and view the games within the ESPN App. MLB.TV will cost an additional $24.99 per month. Beginning with the 2018-19 NHL season, fans will also be able to purchase the entire NHL.TV out-of-market package.

THE NEW ESPN APP: THE PREMIER, ALL-IN-ONE DIGITAL SPORTS PLATFORM

The ESPN App is already the number one sports app. With its relaunched and re-imagined version, it will become the premier digital sports platform for fans, giving them a rich, increasingly personalized one-stop digital destination on mobile and digital living room platforms for all that ESPN offers, including:

  • SCORES, NEWS, HIGHLIGHTS: The sports scores, news, video highlights and clips, features and analysis that fans turn to every day;
  • “TV EVERYWHERE” VIDEO: Authenticated live streaming of ESPN’s eight U.S. networks — ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, SEC Network, Longhorn Network – as well as popular on-demand programs, accessed anywhere via the user’s pay TV subscription;
  • ESPN+: Direct-to-consumer subscription streaming access to thousands of additional live sporting events, original content and shows, and on-demand video library;
  • ESPN AUDIO – LIVE AND ON DEMAND: The leading library of sports audio content, including live ESPN Radio streaming and a lineup of top sports podcasts.

More details about ESPN+ and the redesigned ESPN App – including further details about live sports, original and on-demand programming and more – will be announced ahead of launch.


James Pitaro Named President of ESPN and Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks

James Pitaro has been named President of ESPN and Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks, it was announced today by Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. Mr. Pitaro, who has served as Chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media since 2016, will report directly to Mr. Iger.

© Disney

 

“Jimmy is a talented and dedicated leader with the right strategic vision, relentless drive and passion for sports required to lead the stellar ESPN team at this incredibly dynamic time,” Mr. Iger said. “Jimmy forged his career at the intersection of technology, sports and media, and his vast experience and keen perspective will be invaluable in taking ESPN into the future. I also want to extend my utmost thanks to George Bodenheimer for serving as Acting Chair of ESPN these past few months; he is a true industry pioneer and helped make ESPN the undisputed leader in sports.” Mr. Bodenheimer will stay on through the end of the year as a consultant.

“As a passionate and lifelong sports fan, I am honored to be joining the ESPN team during such a pivotal time in its storied history,” Mr. Pitaro said. “The appetite for quality sports content across platforms has never been greater, and I am looking forward to working with the talented ESPN team as we continue to redefine the future fan experience.” Mr. Pitaro’s appointment is effective immediately, and new leadership for Disney’s consumer products and interactive businesses will be named at a later date.

Mr. Pitaro’s appointment comes at a time of great opportunity for ESPN, as it readies the launch of its new direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service. ESPN+ will offer a dynamic lineup of thousands of live sporting events, original content and an unmatched library of award-winning on-demand programming. The service will be integrated into a completely reimagined ESPN App that will serve as the all-in-one, personalized digital destination for all that ESPN offers, including scores, news, highlights and authenticated live streaming of ESPN’s eight U.S. networks.

Creating transformative entertainment experiences through digital technology has been a hallmark of Mr. Pitaro’s career, from building Yahoo Sports into an industry-leading online service to leading Disney’s creation of innovative interactive products and services. At Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, Mr. Pitaro has overseen the world’s largest licensing business across toys, apparel and home goods; the world’s largest children’s publisher; the creation of branded digital and physical products, including a robust digital game slate; Disney store locations around the world; the recently launched shopDisney e-commerce platform; and the Disney Digital Network of social and digital channels that reach one of out of every three U.S. social media accounts.

Mr. Pitaro previously served as president, Disney Interactive. Prior to his roles at Disney, he served as vice president and head of Yahoo Media, where he set strategy and developed and executed growth-driving initiatives for Yahoo’s media properties, including Yahoo Sports and Yahoo Music. At Yahoo Sports, he developed and maintained strong relationships in the sports industry across the leagues and agencies. Earlier in his career, Mr. Pitaro was vice president of business affairs for LAUNCH Media, Inc. and practiced law at several New York firms.

Mr. Pitaro holds a Bachelor of Science in economics from Cornell University and a Juris Doctor from St. John’s Law School.

2018 College Football Playoff National Championship is Second Most-Watched Cable Presentation Ever

Monday night’s match-up between Georgia and Alabama was a game for the ages, as evidenced by the more than 28.4 million viewers who tuned in for ESPN’s presentation of the College Football Playoff National Championship, making the January 8 broadcast the second most-watched cable presentation of all time. Reaching 30.7 million viewers at its peak, the presentation averaged 28,443,000 viewers on ESPN’s Nielsen-rated networks (ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU as part of its MegaCast production). This marks a 13-percent increase from the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship on the same three Nielsen-rated networks.

ESPN’s entire presentation of the three-game College Football Playoff showed an impressive gain over last year, with an average of 26,266,000 viewers—21 percent higher than 2017’s three-game presentation. In addition to the championship game, the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game was up 39 percent from last year, and the College Football Playoff Semifinal Allstate Sugar Bowl had a 10 percent gain over 2017.

“The record-breaking audiences, over the course of multiple years, clearly reinforce how the College Football Playoff has quickly established itself as an elite event on the sports calendar,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president, programming and scheduling, on Tuesday, January 9. “Last night’s thrilling finish coupled with ESPN’s innovative MegaCast presentation showcased the incredible strength of college football and the deep connection live sports have with fans.”

ESPN has now televised all 10 of the most-watched cable telecasts of all time, and 18 of the top 20. The January 8 game—which was the first College Football Playoff National Championship to go into overtime—capped a very successful College Football Playoff and bowl season for ESPN. The seven games that comprised the New Year’s Six and the College Football Playoff National Championship averaged more than 17 million viewers and will be the best ever in the current era.

The network concludes its industry-leading 36-game college football post-season having averaged 5,682,000 viewers per game, up 11 percent from last year’s similar slate.