ESPN Coming To Xbox: Will Offer Over 3,500 Live Events, Free For Gold Members

Microsoft-e3-2010-771-rm-engMicrosoft has just announced an exclusive deal with ESPN which will bring over 3,500 live events a year to Xbox 360 users in HD. Content includes college basketball, college football, soccer, MLB, NBA, all four Grand Slam tennis tournaments and golf majors amongst others. ESPN just did a live demo from the E3 show using voice commands to rewind and replay ESPN video using Microsoft's Kinect technology. Very cool. Xbox LIVE gold members will have access to all of this content for free when it launches. Still waiting on Microsoft to release the date it goes live. Kinect launches in North America on November 4th.

For all of Microsoft's announcements from E3, check our engadget's live blog feed.

Update: Microsoft has confirmed that ESPN will work for Xbox 360 customers even if they don't purchase Kinect, but they obviously won't have any of the voice or motion controls.

Update 2: While not mentioned by Microsoft, (the release only uses the phrase "affiliated service provider") I have confirmed with them that ESPN will only be available to those Xbox LIVE members if their ISP has paid ESPN a license to get ESPN content. Of course ESPN thinks this is only going to force more ISPs to want to license their content, but I don't expect it will. Dumb move by ESPN. At a time when they should be introducing the ESPN to the young up and coming gamers who don't watch a lot of TV, all they are doing is limiting the reach and exposure of their content.

Update 3: Here is a list of all the current ISPs that have a license deal with ESPN for access to their content.

  • HmmConvenient

    Will it be Akamai or LLNW that ends up getting the bulk of this traffic? Live linear content of this type is going to be huge, especially since the Xbox is a connected device.
    Future of TV happening now, wow.

  • Scott
  • http://www.BusinessOfVideo.com Dan Rayburn

    Me and my poor spelling. Thanks, it’s fixed.

  • Nate

    No word on the NFL games in this deal? Monday Night Football?

  • Jared

    It will be whatever is on ESPN3.com.

  • Toby Gilchrist

    Is this international or just America?

  • HmmConvenient

    It’s ESPN3.com as someone else said. Also hilarious: you will probably need a cable subscription as well (with a package containing ESPN, as this is how ESPN3.com works today).
    Dan, you are the only blogger that did the proper digging to report this. The rest of the world is misrepresenting this as the end of their cable subscriptions. Ridiculous.

  • WBS

    Very cool indeed. I had no idea that my xBox purchase would pay off in so many ways!

  • Kinect Bundle

    I can’t wait for Kinect. I’ve tried my best to avoid the negative comments about it failing etc.. I just see it as the next generation in gaming, and by this time next year, the games will rock. The launch games are pretty gimicky, but I watched the clip for Dance Paradise, the game which Universal Music is working on…now that looks like the bomb. I’ve pre-ordered the 250GB Kinect Bundle….I plan on buying a lot of games, hehe. Lucky I got in fast, I read that Gamestop already sold out. Saying all this, one thing I won’t be buying is that dumb boat accessory, can’t believe they even thought to make something like that. At least they could do is make
    some kind of weapon Kinect Bundle with a machine gun, lightsaber or something, but a boat??

  • curren

    ya but it doesn’t play pro games for some stupid reason thats whats stinks

  • mwalters

    so if you still need a cable subscription , as mentioned by the earlier bloger whats the point ,why wouldn’t I just keep watching my cable or satellite.