The Verge has given us a closer look at the studio where ESPN’s flagship program Sports Center is created. The new state of the art facility was obviously designed with future in mind, but many are asking what type of future that is. ESPN has long been considered one of two companies that could print money should they decide to offer an over-the-top service, streaming Sports Center and live games without a bloated cable package. However the Disney-owned network seems to be one of the most reluctant to do that.
The article points out that ESPN is committed to being where their customers are watching, but mostly focuses on social media, where short videos like those from Vine and Instagram can quickly go viral and reach millions of people in a matter of minutes. But to be where consumers are means being online, and increasingly, not being bound to pricey cable bundles. As cable providers continue to lose video subscribers, OTT services are exploding in popularity, with new ones joining the fray every month.
Consumers have long been clammoring for an ESPN streaming service, though the network has thus far resisted. But thanks to another company, Dish Network, courtesy of their new Sling TV product, ESPN will be coming to cord-cutters after all. Some have even described the $20-a-month Sling TV service as little more than a $20 subscription to ESPN, as the popular cable network will surely be one of the main drivers of sales.