ESPN360 is a broadband streaming video service from, as you might have guessed, ESPN. They show a variety of sports, some of them fairly easy to get on their regular TV programming. The advantages are that events are kept online (not sure how long), so, for instance, as I type this, you could watch Monday’s Dodgers-Cardinals baseball game or last night’s WNBA game between Phoenix and Connecticut. For me, as usual, it’s the extra soccer that looks appealing … today they are showing matches featuring Manchester United, Boca Juniors, Bayern Munich, and AC Milan that I wouldn’t be able to watch otherwise unless I went the P2P route, which is usually of pretty poor quality.
The problem with ESPN360 for users of Comcast is that the two behemoths have squabbled over the rights for what seems like forever. Far as I can tell, ESPN360 is free for users, but you can’t access it unless you are using an ISP that pays ESPN for the rights (college and military users excluded … they get it for free already). Comcast usually gets into these disputes, leaving their users outside looking in. But the two companies finally came to an agreement, several years after ESPN started the service, so I can now watch good-quality streaming sports. Looking ahead, I see the Dutch soccer league and some international friendlies. There is boxing and Canadian football and X Games … I don’t know if these are also available over the air on my TV since I don’t watch them in the first place, and I expect in the end I’ll only watch ESPN360 a few times a month. But I’m glad to see it finally arrive on my computer.