Have a Gold Xbox Live account? Want to catch the latest in bass fishing, Aussie rules football and high school volleyball? You may just be in luck. ESPN has cut a deal with Microsoft to provide its streaming ESPN3 service — which includes all of these events, as well as the latest in cricket and poker — to many Xbox 360 owners with Gold accounts. Okay, you’re not limited to just those sports. ESPN3 also has the FIFA World Cup, a selection of MLB games — and the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The service will launch in November, and will only be available to customers whose ISPs also have a deal with ESPN to stream the service. That means it’s not really a new service (though it will include some social and interactive features optimized for Xbox Live); if you’re a customer of one of those ISPs, you can already stream ESPN3 to your PC and get all of the in-line hockey, European basketball and spelling-bee reruns you want.
Although the arrangement might be attractive to Xbox owners who have their console hooked up to the giant plasma set, while the PC languishes in a home office, it won’t bring ESPN3 content to the customers of Time Warner, Cablevision or many other major cable carriers. Looks like they’ll just have to go elsewhere to get their fill of Canadian football and French rugby.
ESPN, Microsoft Enter into Exclusive Deal [Press Release]