Mobile ESPN puts sports brand in the palm of your hand

ESPN may have built its business on 24-hour cable sports, but to remain a leader in sports it must be there whenever fans turn to a new platform, even if that means being the palm the hand, said George Bodenheimer, co-chairman of Disney Media Networks and president of ESPN and ABC Sports.

Addressing a Dec. 5 luncheon sponsored by global financial giant UBS, Bodenheimer said Mobile ESPN, the company’s new 24/7 cell phone sports connection, will expand ESPN’s ability to provide fans access to everything from video and audio game action to stats and scores.

ESPN is positioning Mobile ESPN as a palm-sized sports communication device, he said. ESPN is partnering with companies like Sprint Nextel, Sanyo and Best Buy to get the service and the phone into the hands of sports fans.

The sports media company began marketing Mobile ESPN on it Web site on Dec. 5. The service goes on sale Feb. 5, 2006, at 600 Best Buy stores nationwide.

According to Bodenheimer, the Mobile ESPN handset will cost $399 after rebate and will have a competitive subscription fee.

According to Bodenheimer, ESPN fans are 28 percent more likely than the average American to have a broadband connection, 19 percent more likely to have a wireless Web connection, 13 percent more likely to have a video game console and 38 percent more likely to have a HDTV set.

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