09.04.2006 08:00 AM
Live college football games broadcast to U.S. mobile phones

The fledgling, subscription-based Mobile ESPN service — in a first for the U.S. TV market — begins live broadcasting of complete college football games to mobile telephone users in the United States this week.

The live broadcasts, to begin Sept. 4 with the Florida State vs. Miami game, will deliver up to 25 games per month from ESPN and ESPN2 throughout the 2006 college football season. The game on Sept. 4 will also air on the ESPN cable TV network and the service's ESPN360 Internet broadband channel.

Mobile ESPN is priced at $25 a month in addition to the subscriber's voice plan on the Sprint Nextel PCS wireless network. In markets where it's available, the broadcasts will take advantage of Sprint's EV-DO high-speed wireless data network.

In addition to the live football broadcasts, Mobile ESPN includes text alerts, real-time scores and news, ESPN.com Fantasy Manager and other features targeting the sports enthusiast.

ESPN holds digital media rights to the games through multi-year broadcast agreements it has with the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big Ten Conference, the Big East Conference and other college athletics entities, Mobile ESPN spokeswoman Rebecca Gertsmark told Forbes.com/.

Mobile ESPN was launched nationwide last February and has met a cool reception from potential customers. Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger said last May that sales had been “lower than hoped.” The new initiative is designed to turn that around

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