ESPN is one of the most successful networks out there, and that success doesn’t stop on cable and satellite, either. The company is quite popular on the mobile front as well, with two apps that give users all the sports news and live sports they can handle, respectively. But now we’re finally going to see ESPN combine its own efforts by allowing live sports to be watched through the dedicated ESPN app instead of only on WatchESPN. Seem like a no-brainer? Sure, but progress is always accepted.
Starting today, December 3, mobile and tablet owners can download the update on the ESPN app that will introduce a new “WatchESPN” tab that can be clicked to access whatever live sports are happening at the time. Alternately, going to a specific game’s page will now have a “Watch Live” option. People using an iPad will have the advantage of a picture-in-picture view, so they can look up stats and other news while the game is still on the screen. Regardless of your device, there’s no longer any reason to flip back and forth between the apps, although people are still more than welcome to do that if updating things doesn’t please them.
It’s a damned good time for ESPN to have introduced this option, as college football’s regular season is coming to a close, and we’re about to enter both the playoffs and bowl season. That should make for some huge viewer traffic, as many people are on the road and traveling during the holidays. There are still a handful of Monday Night Football games left to go this season, too. Plus, you know, all the other sports that ESPN has access to.
Now, it should be understood that, like WatchESPN’s app, viewing the live games will require a cable or satellite subscription in order to access everything. ESPN is likely also hoping that app users who aren’t subscribed may choose to do so after seeing the new update. There’s something to be said about the power of frustration over not being able to do something on one’s phone or tablet.
ESPN’s apps have been extremely worthwhile for the company, as records were set in September and October for the two most successful months ever, at least when the World Cup doesn’t enter into it. Over 11 million unique viewers tuned into something in September (9 million in October), and watched around 2.2 billion minutes of sports (1.9 billion in October). That’s pretty damned good.
We’re only a short while away from more outlets taking live sports to the mobile realm, so that’s another way that ESPN is smart to consolidate their output. Head to the app store to see if you think it’s worth it.