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Video Subscribers Will Be Able to Stream Live Events Directly in the No. 1 Sports App
Beginning today, video subscribers with iOS 9 and Android handsets and tablets can download a new update to the ESPN app that will allow them to stream live events from WatchESPN directly within the app. The update comes ahead of the conclusion of the college football regular season, bowl games and College Football Playoff.
“Offering the convenience of live streaming within one app reinforces the value of the multichannel subscription,” said Sean Breen, Senior Vice President of Affiliate Sales, Disney & ESPN Media Networks. “Even with WatchESPN’s recent record-breaking viewership, we continue to be aggressive in driving awareness to a large scale audience and to incentivize video subscribers to authenticate.”
Upon logging in with a video subscription username and password, fans will receive one-tap access to live streaming events in the ESPN app through the rebranded “WatchESPN” tab or by tapping “Watch Live” within a detailed game page. During WatchESPN playback on iPad, fans will also be able to navigate away from the ESPN app with picture-in-picture viewing, allowing them to multitask as they’re watching a live event.
“Today’s update to the ESPN app is a major first step towards marrying our two largest applications and our two largest mobile audiences,” said Ryan Spoon, Senior Vice President of Digital Product Management, ESPN. “By bringing WatchESPN’s functionality into the ESPN app, sports fans now have a single home to follow, watch and listen live to all of their favorite sports events, teams and content.”
Video subscribers can continue to visit the WatchESPN app for the full experience, including live, upcoming and replay events and the ability to browse by sport, channel or through search. Picture-in-picture functionality will also continue to be available for the WatchESPN app on iPad.
The update comes in the midst of record-breaking audience viewership for WatchESPN across platforms. It set records in September and October for its two most viewed non-World Cup months ever, attracting 11 million total unique viewers that watched 2.2 billion minutes in September, up 50 percent and 92 percent, respectively, compared to the same month in 2014 and 9 million total unique viewers that watched 1.9 billion minutes in October, up 39 percent and 71 percent, respectively.
Specifically, this season to date, WatchESPN has generated its top 12 highest audiences ever for Monday Night Football, top five regular season college football games, top 13 most viewed regular season college football weeks and most watched college basketball game ever. ESPN’s season opening NBA games also delivered the top three NBA regular season games on WatchESPN, while the AL Wild Card game and U.S. Open logged its largest MLB and tennis audiences ever.