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Verizon Wireless gets exclusive on Mobile ESPN content

The content and user interface of the short-lived Mobile ESPN L.L.C. mobile virtual network operator is set to be resurrected as an addition to Verizon Wireless’ Vcast data service.
ESPN and Verizon Wireless said that they have signed an exclusive, multi-year agreement to provide the sports content application to Verizon Wireless customers who sign up for the carrier’s Vcast data service, which costs $15 per month. The content will be available to Verizon Wireless customers for no additional charge beyond the Vcast monthly subscription.
Terms of the deal between Verizon Wireless and ESPN were not disclosed.
Mobile ESPN launched in February 2006 using Sprint Nextel Corp.’s CDMA network, stopped taking customers in October and was completely shut down at the end of the year in favor of licensing the technology and content instead of propping it up as a stand-alone MVNO service.
“For ESPN, this is the right strategy and the right carrier relationship to grow our business while serving millions of sports fans with the information they want, when and how they want it,” said Salil Mehta, executive vice president of ESPN Enterprises.
Along with the Mobile ESPN application, Vcast subscribers also will be able to access ESPN Insider content and fantasy team management, as well as mobile video from ESPN-branded shows such as SportsCenter, Cold Pizza, Outside the Lines and Pardon the Interruption.
In a separate announcement, ESPN and MediaFLO USA Inc. announced a multi-year licensing agreement for an ESPN Mobile TV channel. Verizon Wireless and MediaFLO parent Qualcomm Inc. plan to deploy the mobile TV service in the next few months.
And in related news, Manish Jha, a former executive for the Mobile ESPN MVNO, announced he will head Vantrix Corp. as the company’s new CEO. Vantrix provides “mobile media services, enabling the scalable delivery of rich media content, including messaging, advertising and live video and audio streaming,” according to the company.

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