ESPN going mobile

Cable net pacts with Verizon V Cast

ESPN is giving the mobile game another whirl — sort of.

After its failed attempt to a launch a successful mobile service, or MVNO, the cable giant has pacted with Verizon V Cast to offer many of the features and tools that were available on the shuttered ESPN Mobile service.

New pact — which will offer multimedia filters, fantasy-team management and net’s so-called insider content — will be offered as part of V Cast’s basic $15-per-month service at no extra cost to subs.

It will also feature the content application, which was the tool developed for the MVNO.

ESPN had begun offering the MVNO, or mobile virtual network operator, in the hope that subs would order mobile service directly from ESPN and that the cable powerhouse could better brand itself directly to consumers.

But after losing as much as $25 million in some fiscal quarters, company closed down the service in the fall.

Under the new plan, ESPN will be shouldering less risk than it did for the MVNO, mainly because it no longer carries the high price of handsets and other built-in costs.

At the same time, it also will be sharing in less revenue, as it splits subscriber fees with host of other nets and content providers as well as carriers, who are generally thought to take as much as half the revenue on a given content deal.

Deal won’t affect the newsfeeds ESPN offers via other mobile operators.

A rep for ESPN said the deal also makes sense because the company would not be required to recruit subs in the same way. “We’re starting out with a much larger base of people who have this service available to them,” the rep said.

Separately on Thursday, ESPN announced a deal with MediaFlo, a service that aims to provide full-length TV to mobile carriers. Service will offer what ESPN is calling 24/7 channel for wireless, including simulcasts of live games.

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