ESPN US ties up with Sanyo for inaugural ESPN mobile handset

MUMBAI: ESPN US and Sanyo have announced plans for Sanyo to produce the first wireless handset in the Mobile ESPN portfolio. Mobile ESPN will be rolled out across the US on 5 February 2006.



The parties have also unveiled the Sanyo MVP. This is a multimedia phone with styling and functionality built exclusively for ESPN. Targeted to avid sports fans, the Sanyo MVP is designed to work on a high-speed Evolution Data Optimised (Evod) wireless network, enabling it to deliver the world of ESPN at ultra-fast speeds. It features an industrial design, with a jet-black housing and bold accent elements in ESPN's signature red.

The Sanyo MVP will give Mobile ESPN users one-touch, real-time access to personalised sports content, including the ESPN BottomLine scores and headlines service; Gamecast – a live, graphical representation of games; player and team statistics; ESPN video clips and game highlights; ESPN commentary and analysis; sports alerts and fantasy updates. Among its myriad features, the multimedia SANYO MVP will also offer a high-resolution colour display; external colour picture caller ID; built-in 1.3 megapixel digital camera with flash; video recording capabilities; MP3 music player; 16MB miniSD memory card and voice recorder.



ESPN has also announced new branding for the upcoming wireless phone service - Mobile ESPN - further differentiating itself in a dynamic wireless marketplace. Much more than a phone, Mobile ESPN is a mobile sports communication device and service that delivers ESPN anytime, anywhere. Originally called ESPN Mobile, the company states that new name truly reflects the service's ultimate mission—to literally serve avid sports fans with one-touch, real-time access to immersive and personalized sports content from ESPN.

ESPN Mobile senior VP and GM Manish Jha said, "Mobile ESPN has defined a new wireless category, and with that, we are positioning the service and our marketing around the idea that life will never get in the way of sports again. We have all had that Saturday afternoon commitment that kept us from the big game. This is more than a phone—it is like putting ESPN in your pocket."

"We have taken our cues from the 97 million people who touch ESPN each week to create a wireless service model that is anything but traditional. That is why everything—from our unique content to our naming convention—goes above and beyond to ensure that our fans get the sports they want in a way that works for them."

Mobile ESPN will operate as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) utilizing Sprint's nationwide network for wireless voice and data service. It will take advantage of the Sprint EVDO (Evolution Data Optimised) service, which by year end is expected to be available to approximately 143 million people. By early 2006, when the national build-out is complete, Sprint's EVDO service will be available in approximately 64 metropolitan areas. EVDO provides broadband-like download speeds, which enables extremely fast access to ESPN's sports content, as well as fast Internet browsing, email access and downloads.

Mobile ESPN will offer customisable ESPN content—including real-time scores, breaking news, commentary and analysis; fantasy sports information and team management; audio and video programming; and MP3 audio playback capability—on unique ESPN-branded handsets.

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