Verizon FiOS will become the third affiliate for ESPN's college football highlights/scoring channel and will add ESPN 3D to its roster next year as part of a new comprehensive, carriage pact.
Verizon and the Disney and ESPN Media Networks Group have signed a long-term pact that will enable the telco to continue provide its subscribers with extant ESPN products and service, including broadband service ESPN3.com, while adding access to such new services as the aforementioned ESPN Goal Line and ESPN 3D, plus upcoming preschool network Disney Junior, mobile programming and live online authenticated streaming of several ESPN networks.
Terms of the adjunct agreement, which encompass many of the advanced-media features included in last month's Disney/ESPN renewal pact with Time Warner Cable, were not disclosed.
First launched last month Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks systems, the ad hoc collegiate highlights channel ESPN Goal Line will be available to FiOS TV Extreme HD and FiOS TV Ultimate HD package customers at no extra charge, kicking off on Oct 9.
ESPN Goal Line, which takes fans around to some of the best matchups during the NCAA football season, will air on Saturdays in HD on FiOS TV Channel 571 from noon until games are complete, around 11:30 p.m. (ET.) It will be available in all FiOS TV markets, save for the Washington, D.C., metro area and Harrisburg, Penn., due to local affiliate exclusivity agreements.
ESPN 3D, which currently counts Comcast, AT&T U-verse and DirecTV, is scheduled to launch for Verizon FiOS TV subscribers in 2011. Time Warner Cable and Bright House have also committed to the new service, and could launch it before year's end, according to an ESPN official.
From "TV Everywhere" perspectives, new authenticated services will give Verizon's FiOS TV customers the capabilities to watch ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater live online on their PC, or on Internet devices like tablets. The telco's video customers will be able to access the programming via ESPN's websites, as well as FiOS TV Online in the coming months, according to the parties.
FiOS TV is also on board for the 2012 bow of Disney Junior, the 24-hour basic channel for preschool-age children, parents and caregivers,that will supplant SoapNet.
Programming from boys-targeted Disney XD and ABC Family is expected to be available on Verizon Wireless' V CAST Video later this year.
"We're very excited to begin offering our FiOS subscribers this new variety of ESPN and Disney programming," said Terry Denson, Verizon vice president for content strategy and acquisition, in announcing the deal. "We continue to meet the goal of providing our customers with the newest programming available on every platform, whether it's on the TV screen, online or on mobile devices."
Added David Preschlack, executive vice president, affiliate sales and marketing, DEMN: "This new agreement represents the ever-evolving landscape of the media industry. Gone are the days of linear channel distribution only - we are tasked with helping our affiliates grow their businesses on multiple platforms, and this deal reflects that. With new broadband and on-demand services, Verizon FiOS TV subscribers will have better access than ever to our vast array of content."