- "ESPN Networks" redirects here. For a list of ESPN networks, see ESPN Inc.
Type of site
|Launched||October 25, 2010|
WatchESPN (formerly ESPN Networks) is an Internet television website and mobile application operated by ESPN Inc., a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company (which operates the network, through its 80% controlling ownership interest) and the Hearst Corporation (which holds the remaining 20% interest).
The service provides streaming simulcasts of ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, ESPN Deportes, Longhorn Network, SEC Network, ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater for select cable television subscribers in the United States; it is also the exclusive platform for broadcasts from ESPN3, which until 2011, had operated as a separate website with a similar functionality to WatchESPN. The service is only available to subscribers of participating cable, IPTV and satellite television providers, and is not offered as a standalone internet-only subscription service available to those who do not have a pay television subscription.
As ESPN Networks
WatchESPN originally launched on October 25, 2010, when Time Warner Cable became the first cable television provider to offer ESPN Networks, which provided subscribers to ESPN an online simulcast of the channel through a dedicated website. Bright House Networks (for which Time Warner Cable handles distribution agreements) began offering ESPN Networks on November 22, 2010. On January 25, 2011, ESPN Networks added streaming simulcast feeds of ESPN2 and ESPNU, as well as out-of-market sports packages ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater to the website, accessible only to subscribers of those services. Verizon FiOS began providing access to streams on the ESPN Networks website on February 17, 2011.
On April 7, 2011, ESPN released a mobile app called WatchESPN on the App Store for Apple devices, using the same subscriber authentication functionality to allow access to simulcasts of the available ESPN channels on the service via the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch; the app was released on the Android Market (now Google Play) on May 9, 2011. The ESPN Networks website was subsequently rebranded under the WatchESPN name on August 31, 2011 (the "Watch" brand has since been applied to other TV Everywhere applications for television networks owned by ESPN co-owner Disney–ABC Television Group since the launch of the service, including those for ABC, Disney Channel and ABC Family). On May 8, 2012, Comcast began allowing authenticated Xfinity TV customers access to WatchESPN's streams via the app, as part of a deal in which the streams available on WatchESPN would also be made available on the XfinityTV.com website. On August 28, 2012, Midcontinent Communications began allowing access to WatchESPN's simulcasts for its customers. Charter Communications added access to the service in mid-February 2013. Dish Network, the first satellite provider to provide access to WatchESPN, announced it had added the service on April 1, 2014.
Longhorn Network and SEC Network programs were added to the service upon SEC Network's launch on August 14, 2014. As a result of this, ESPN Classic is the only remaining ESPN network that is not yet available for streaming on the service. ESPN Classic, which is phasing out linear distribution, is set to be added in 2015.
On January 1, 2015 the WatchESPN app crashed during the Rose Bowl (football) game between Oregon and Florida State.
Simulcasts of the ESPN channels available on the WatchESPN app and website (including ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater) are only available to subscribers of pay television providers AT&T U-verse, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Dish Network, Google Fiber, Grande Communications, Midcontinent Communications, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS and Xfinity TV (formerly Comcast Digital Cable); Atlantic Broadband is set to begin allowing access to the service for its customers by the end of 2014.
ESPN3, a similar service that had operated separately from WatchESPN until it was integrated into the service in 2011, is available through many other cable providers including those listed above. In all cases, a TV Everywhere login (or other login code for university and military customers) through a customer's service provider is required to access the services.
- ESPN Deportes
- ESPN Goal Line
- ESPN Buzzer Beater
- Longhorn Network
- SEC Network
The WatchESPN.com website allows fans to view and switch between among up to 20 events in a main viewing window, which can exceed the amount of bandwidth that can be handled by most broadband subscribers. Events available on the service that have recently been completed are archived and available for on-demand replay. The WatchESPN player additionally features four modules: Featured Events (which shows viewers highlights of live and upcoming events available on WatchESPN), Stats (which features statistics from the streamed event), the Chat 140 section (which allows fans to discussion the events with other fans), and Facebook connect (which connects fans to their Facebook profile and allows them to both post about the event that they are watching on their wall and discuss the event with other Facebook fans).
The WatchESPN app is available for download from the App Store for the iPhone, the iPod Touch and the iPad, and to compatible Android devices from the Amazon Appstore and Google Play. In is also available on the Windows Phone Store. Chromecast support was added to the Android and iOS apps as part of an update released on June 3, 2014.
Monday Night Football telecasts are not available on the mobile version of WatchESPN. This is because NFL Mobile, an app available only to Verizon Wireless customers, holds exclusive rights to streaming National Football League games to mobile devices.
Digital media players
On June 19, 2013, the service became available through Apple TV. WatchESPN became available on Roku streaming players on November 12, 2013; unlike certain other channels offered on Roku that are available on a standalone subscription basis, as WatchESPN is a TV Everywhere service, access to content through Roku players requires users to subscribe to a cable, telco or satellite television programming tier that at minimum includes the main ESPN channel and in most cases, ESPN2.
- Phillips, Amy (2010-10-22). "Time Warner Cable Customers Can Now Watch ESPN and ESPN3.com On Their Computer". ESPN Inc. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- Krodel, Brooke (2010-11-22). "Bright House Networks Customers Now Have Access to ESPN3.com and ESPNnetworks.com". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- Phillips, Amy (2011-01-25). "ESPN2, ESPNU and Buzzer Beater Now Available Online". ESPN Inc. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- Phillips, Amy (2011-02-17). "Verizon FiOS to Offer Live Online Streaming of ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and Buzzer Beater". ESPN Inc. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- Phillips, Amy (2011-04-07). "ESPN Launches New ‘WatchESPN’ App for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch". ESPN Inc. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- Chong-Adler, Kristie (2011-05-09). "'WatchESPN' App Now Available on Android Devices". ESPN Inc. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- Nagle, Dave (2012-01-06). "ESPN, Inc.: 2011 in Review". ESPN Inc. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- Phillips, Amy (2012-05-08). "WatchESPN Now Available to Comcast Xfinity TV Customers Through WatchESPN App and Soon on XfinityTV.com". ESPN Inc. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- Hudak, Kristen (2012-09-28). "WatchESPN Now Available to Midcontinent Customers". ESPN Inc. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- Press release (31 December 2012). "The Walt Disney Company and Charter Communications Announce New Distribution Agreement". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- "Google brings WatchESPN, MLS and more to Chromecast". Engadget. June 3, 2014.
- "ESPN, Disney Channels Land on Roku Internet Set-Tops". Variety. November 12, 2013.
- www.watchespn.com – WatchESPN official website
- espn.go.com/watchespn/faq? – WatchESPN Frequently Asked Questions page