Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks subscribers will be able to watch live sports from three ESPN channels -- ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU -- online and on mobile Internet devices, marking a new front for ESPN on "TV Everywhere" style distribution.
The TV Everywhere component is part of a larger agreement among TWC, Disney/ABC Television Group and ESPN. Under the deal, TWC and Bright House customers -- who subscribe to both broadband and a cable TV package with ESPN -- also will have access to ESPN3.com, the sports programmer's live sports portal that carries 3,500 events annually.
In another component of the multifaceted deal, TWC and Bright House will debut ESPN Goal Line, a new college football highlights service, available to sports tier subscribers starting this Saturday.
The companies are not disclosing when the expanded authenticated service will become available. The service will give TWC and Bright House subscribers the opportunity to watch the linear networks ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU through their broadband services "as well as mobile Internet devices, like an iPad."
ESPN spokeswoman Amy Phillips said the companies were still getting the details of the back-end infrastructure worked out. The live video streaming for ESPN3.com currently is provided through an agreement with Major League Baseball Advanced Media.
TWC, for its part, has embarked on a broader project to extend TV content and navigation functions to iPads and potentially other devices, and also is looking at ways to let third-party partners access cable programming.