ESPN, the first high-profile casualty of the MVNO market, is relaunching through an exclusive deal with Verizon Wireless. The multi-year agreement between the two gives Verizon Wireless exclusive U.S. rights to offer the Mobile ESPN application on its V Cast phones. The two companies also plan to launch an ESPN broadcast TV channel--on Qualcomm's MediaFLO network--that will include much of the same content being shown on the popular sports cable network.
Verizon Wireless will launch the V Cast offering in the coming months and will bundle the service in the $15-per-month or $3-per-day fee it charges for V Cast. The deal is a huge win for Verizon because content firms generally shy away from exclusive carrier agreements, preferring instead to offer their content across all operators and reach as many eyeballs as possible. Likewise, offering content through Verizon is a much better fit for ESPN. Despite being one of the most well-known brands around, consumers didn't want to buy an ESPN-branded phone to access ESPN content. Verizon Wireless says it expects ESPN will drive adoption for V Cast services.
In an interesting aside, Manish Jha, formerly the senior vice president and general manager of ESPN Mobile, has landed a new gig. He is now the CEO of Vantrix Corp., a Montreal-based mobile media firm.
For more about the deal between Verizon Wireless and ESPN:
- check out this article from AP