E3 is currently going on in Los Angeles, CA and during this conference, gaming giant Microsoft just went all-in on sports apps by adding MNF, NHL, NBA and UCF as well as expanded ESPN coverage through WatchESPN.
During the press conference, Microsoft touted the importance of adding additional sports content to their database that currently includes MLB network and ESPN3 content.
The ESPN segment is particularly of interest because currently, you only get content from ESPN3 but with the expanded partnership you will now get “ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN Buzzer Beater/Goal Line” as well as shows like “SportsCenter, SportsNation, First Take, NFL Live, Baseball Tonight, College GameDay and others as well as live events from the NFL, MLB, NBA, soccer, tennis, golf, motor sports and more” through the WatchESPN App.
While you will need a league pass for both NHL and NBA, MNF will be available at no additional cost because of the expanded ESPN coverage provided you have an XBox Live Gold membership and one of the cable providers listed here.
Does this signal a change in the way we will view sports in the future? Perhaps it seems to be taking that mainstream baby step.
Steaming sports content doesn’t take up much internet bandwidth, cable prices continue to rise, and we as a population are becoming more mobile by the day. It’s only natural that our sports consumption follow. Many have made that decision already by choosing to watch their sports content primarily on their Xbox.
“If it wasn’t for the NFL, I wouldn’t even have cable. These new partnerships just get me one step closer to ditching cable completely” said Jason Tremain on Twitter.
Fellow AA writer Joe Lucia said “The ESPN app is actually faster than watching online….very valuable during college FB/BB season”.
With the way we currently view sports on demand via our phones and tablets, being able to watch the same content that used to only be available at home will become extremely value to the tech-savvy sports fan.
Microsoft took a big leap this year at E3 with a strong focus on apps and after this XBL announcement, it’s clear they want to establish themselves as your sports home.