WatchESPN app now supports Windows 8 devices


Mobile users that utilize devices that run on Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system no longer have to be second class citizens when it comes to viewing content generated by ESPN’s family of networks as there is now a WatchESPN app for their devices.

What this means in real terms is that if you have a subscription to a network that shows the network’s lineup they can have access to that includes ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3, ESPN Deportes and ESPNEWS through WatchESPN.

The free app also includes the ability for users pin the app with a Live Tile that provides an instant view from the start screen that displays the top live events as well as features such as Snap functionality, a channel guide, the ability to browse by sport, access to featured live and on-demand content. ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater will also be accessible when those channels are in season.

In case you are unaware of which cable and satellite video providers that do or will soon feature ESPN and so enable you to access this feature here is a short list. AT&T U-verse TV, Bright House Networks, Cablevision’s Optimum TV, Charter, Comcast Xfinity TV, Cox, Google Fiber, Midcontinent Communications, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon FiOS TV.

This is very good news for supporters of that operating system, which consistently comes in third when versions of sport apps are delivered. MLB almost always delivers a version of its numerous apps first for Apple’s iOS platform and then for Android. Others apps also tout the rival OS first and often there is no mention of Windows support.

Windows 8 had a strong fall growth spurt but has slowed while the older Windows 7 has seen strong growth in recent weeks. Hopefully this and increased support from other mobile apps will provide some much needed impetus for additional growth.

Looking for college baseball? ESPN has you covered


Does it seem that every year college baseball is basically invisible unless you live near a school that gets coverage in the local media until the College World Series is aired at the end of the summer? Well ESPN is seeking to change that, or rather build on what it has already established in the last few years.

The network will be using its breadth and depth as a broadcaster to show a record number of games during the 2014 college baseball season, with more than 200 regular season and conference games across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU and ESPNNEWS.

This is in addition to the exclusive coverage that it will provide for the NCAA Division I College Baseball Championship that starts at the conclusion of the conference championship games. It will also cover the selection of the 64 team field for the championship. The previous high in terms of number of broadcasts by ESPN is 151 games.

Both over air and digital broadcast to be available
ESPN3 will be streaming the bulk of the games with 150 exclusive broadcasts over the course of the season with all available on WatchESPN so that users that want to view the games on tablets, smartphones, Xbox, Roku and other device will have the opportunity to see the games. There are some restrictions on mobile users.

The network plans to have at least one game available every Friday, Saturday and Sunday over 14 consecutive weeks and the regular-season broadcasts starts this Friday, Feb. 14, at 4 p.m. ET with No. 5 Florida State hosting Niagara.

Not all games have been scheduled but for a quick look at what is already planned head over here.

Among the regular features for the season will be ESPNU once again carrying Thursday Night SEC Baseball Game of the Week starting March 27 as well as carrying ACC Monday broadcasts starting March 24. The ACC will apparently dominate broadcasts over the season with 111 games on the agenda. The network said that it will broadcasts games that feature every Top 10 team and 21 of the Top 25 over the course of the season. ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3 and ESPNEWS will combine to carry 10 conference championships.

Do new deals show MLBAM set for IPO?


When you think of the WWE do you think of baseball? No? How about Sony? How about Whistle Partners- even heard of them? What they all have in common is a connection to Major League Baseball’s Advanced Media arm, a partnership created by all MLB teams that handles its Internet, digital and interactive technology, everything from behind the scenes backroom technology to the latest in games.

If you wonder why this is important consider that MLBAM is estimated to have earned $620 million in 2012, and is rapidly extending its reach into both baseball and non baseball activities. Aside from running the MLB and Minor League Baseball websites it also runs websites for YES Networks, SportsNet NewYork and others. In backroom technology it delivers infrastructure to a variety of entities including Southwest Airlines, CBSSportsline and WatchESPN.

It has recently expanded with a flurry of new deals and announcements in the last few weeks. It now will provide back end infrastructure for Sony when that company delivers its planned cloud-based TV service. It will also be providing the technology that backs the World Wrestling Entertainment’s planned 24/7 streaming network that is expected to launch next month.

It has also entered into a deal with The Whistle, a new sports entertainment network that is targeted at young fans and athletes. MLBAM will be providing technology services and infrastructure support for the network.


In the area of games it already has one of the most popular apps of all time at the Apple app store with MLB.Com At Bat, and that is just one of a host of games that it has available for fans during the season, and you can now add another to that list, or will be able to soon.

The MLBAM has announced that it will bring back from the dead RBI Baseball, to be called RBI Baseball 14, a game that has not been available for 20 years. Details are not available as yet as to what the latest generation of the game will look like but it is expected to be available for consoles as well as for smartphones and tablets.

We are not even mentioning the programs that MLBAM has set up for baseball that include Facebook, Instagram and other social media or its move to allow fans to upgrade tickets, order food and other activities with mobile devices. These are capabilities that it could also expand on and help other sports leagues deploy for their fans.

What do all of the activities mean? It could be a sign that it is getting all of its ducks in a row prior to making a run at an IPO, according to Forbes and other sources. It is estimated that MLBAM is worth as much as $6 to $8 billion and that with the current hot IPO market MLB could cash in on its media arm, even keeping half to retain control would result in a pretty penny in all of the teams’ owners pockets.

ESPN introduces Major Revamp to WatchESPN App


WatchESPN, the mobile app for iPads, iPhones and iPod touch from the sports broadcasting giant has be upgraded with a host of new and enhanced features as the company provide mobile access to a number of its channels including to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3 and ESPN Goal Line/Buzzer Beater.

Among the additions is access to ESPN3 for college students and military personnel via on-campus (.edu) and on-base (.mil) Wi-Fi network. Also new is ESPN on ABC, providing access to live programming on ESPN on ABC events and will redirected users to the WATCH ABC App for access to that content

For the iPad it has added Live Toolbar, a feature that has the ability to shows stats and scores without opening an additional digital stream. It has three components in the form of tabs that reside at the bottom of the screen.

The first is on called Live TV Lineup that is just what it says, an interactive guide to all of the programming that is available on the network. The second is called Scores, and is designed to not only provide the scores that a fan might be seeking but allow them to gather pregame info on sporting events with a feature in Scores that is called Pre-Game View. The Live View function shows cores of events that are currently on-going and Post-Game View for the wrap up.

The third tab is called Top Video and is an on-demand feature that provides up-to-date news, analysis and highlights. This can be used in split screen mode so that you can continue watching an event at the same time.

The WatchESPN App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at It should be noted that you can only use the app if you also get ESPN as part of a cable broadcast package from one of its broadcast partners.

ESPN’s British Open Coverage Scores on Cable, Internet, Mobile

There must be an algorithm somewhere to write the inevitable press releases for broadcasters after any big event now, that begins with “record viewership” and then plugs in the terms online and mobile. ESPN’s coverage of the British Open last week and weekend certainly fits in, with big gains in just about every measurement category, including a 140 percent growth in the amount of live coverage watched on ESPN’s mobile and online platforms.

But — it could have been a lot bigger. Remember, ESPN limits its mobile access to people who pay for cable plans from Verizon FiOS, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, and Comcast. How much bigger could the audience be if ESPN allowed non-cable subscribers the right to see things with a one-time fee? (Right now, the WWL’s answer to that is it’s not gonna happen.)

One guess is that since ESPN added Comcast to its list of approved cable-contract partners whose customers get access to all WatchESPN and ESPN3 content, the jump in online viewership was probably a given since the Comcast deal added about 40 million potential new viewers to the number that could see ESPN’s online streams. Even without any new partnerships that number should easily grow again next year, when ESPN should have support for Comcast customers with Android platforms, who were shut out this year.

I still think that ESPN could vastly improve its online coverage of big events, especially golf, by mimicing the excellent presentation done by the folks at the Masters. Right now the event coverage like the British Open is lumped in next to every other thing that ESPN covers, which as you know is quite a lot, so the experience dims. It would also be great to have an integrated chat/social experience on the same screen, so you could perhaps talk golf smack to friends and other fans without having to switch between multiple screens. I’d add in a window to keep track of the excellent ESPN Majors fantasy game, and my online golf experience would be complete. Well, we’d need the TigerCam too. But I’m not greedy.

ESPN Press release on its awesome British Open numbers.

Watching Golf this Week: The British Open, aka The Open Championship, is ESPN’s Baby

Since this thing starts darn early Thursday morning — how does 4:30 a.m. Eastern time sound to you? We decided to give you a heads-up on watching golf this week, since after all it is the British Open… or as they call it over there, the Open Championship. The nut is: It’s all ESPN, all week long, for coverage of golf’s oldest tourney. To wit:

The 152nd renewal of golf’s oldest major, The Open Championship, will air live across ESPN platforms July 19-22 from Royal Lytham & St Annes in Lancashire, England. ESPN will present 36 hours of live four-round television coverage as well as prime time and afternoon encores for 73 total hours on TV.

For the first time, ESPN Radio will broadcast live action from The Open Championship with 24 total hours over the four days of the event. More than 140 hours of digital platform coverage also will appear on computers, tablets and mobile devices.

ESPN, ESPN3 and WatchESPN will have 10.5 scheduled hours of live play from each of the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday, July 19-20, from 4:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. ET. The third round on Saturday, July 21, will air live from 7 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. with the final round on Sunday, July 22, airing live from 6 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

When it comes to watching golf — on TV or the computer — for me it is a yearly tossup as to which one I like better of the four majors, between the Masters and the British Open. Though I respect the challenge of the U.S. Open, watching it is sometimes more train wreck than golf excitement. You would have to go back to Tiger at Torrey Pines in 2008, for me, for visual excitement. The British Open, on the other hand, has weather, history, and some funky golf shots made necessary by the sheep-mown lands. It’s rarely boring and a treat after watching cookie-cutter TPC courses week after week.

Lately, the Masters has been a pleasure for online fans simply because of the multitude of offerings sent our way over the innerwebs, including the great Amen Corner cam that stays fixed on the middle stretch of Augusta National. The British Open, which rotates from course to course, is going to get a little of that treatment this year, as ESPN is promising some isolated-hole coverage of its own via its online channel, ESPN3. That’s in addition to wall-to-wall TV coverage ESPN has announced — we won’t even try to copy the list, just go here and look. Basically if you love the British Open you’re going to love ESPN this week. Gorse, heather and Scott Van Pelt. And with any luck, no Boomer.

Who’s going to win this thing? Good question. The good news for U.S. golf fans is that if you want to spend all your time watching Phil and Tiger, ESPN is even making a concession for you — though the promos on ESPN Monday night were talking about a 5 a.m. Eastern start time to coverage, Geoff Shackelford and others found out that the Worldwide Leader will actually start its cameras a half-hour earlier, to not miss any of Phil or Tiger’s early rounds.

Can I have a hallelujah? More specifics in our regular WGTW post on Thursday. Remember, you need to have a valid cable contract with Verizon FiOS, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks or Comcast to watch the ESPN coverage online.