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, 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

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