ESPN Raises Wireless Ante


ESPN announced that it is launching its own wireless-phone-service business in partnership with Sprint Corp.

ESPN Mobile will sell a branded wireless-subscription-phone service that will include sports news, information, commentary, analysis, stats, ring tones, graphics, photos and streaming audio and video.

Sprint is selling ESPN wholesale minutes, which ESPN Mobile will package for consumers. ESPN will handle billing, pricing, packaging, distribution and customer service.

"Sports fans are increasingly getting their sports information from wireless platforms," ESPN executive vice president of ad sales and new media John Skipper said in a prepared statement.

Sprint's higher-bandwidth “EV-DO” technology will allow users to see streaming video on their phones. Skipper said segments of Pardon the Interruption could be on the service when it launches next year, along with some game highlights. How much video ESPN will offer depends on rights contracts with suppliers and cable operators, he added.