This news came down yesterday, and I chose to pass on it because the day was already pretty ESPN heavy, but today is a different day (and a slow one at that). ESPN is reportedly in discussion with cable carriers about offering an ESPNU for ESPN Classic trade. Via John Ourand at SBJ....
Executives in Bristol are set to allow cable and satellite distributors to swap ESPN’s classic sports channel for its college network, ESPNU, which they hope presents a newer, hipper alternative to Classic’s staid, dated programming.What a great idea. I'm one of the few people that probably buy the entire Sports package from Comcast (keep your boos to a minimum), and to this day, I've yet to receive ESPNU. At the present time, I get four different FOX Sports channels, Gol TV, The Tennis Channel and Horse Racing TV, but no ESPNU. I pray that my cable carrier takes them up on this deal, and post haste.
As part of the offer, ESPN also is looking for added distribution for its Spanish-language channel, ESPN Deportes, and its broadband network, ESPN360.
An interesting wrinkle to ESPN’s proposal would allow operators to move ESPN Classic to a sports tier, where it would be ESPN’s first channel to reside on the traditionally low-penetrated mantle.
Right now, ESPN Classic is in more than 63 million homes, typically on analog and digital basic tiers.
By contrast, ESPNU is in about 25 million homes, mainly on digital basic tiers, and ESPN Deportes is in fewer than 5 million homes. ESPN360 has not yet been able to reach carriage deals with the top cable operators, though it has reached broadband agreements with Verizon and AT&T.
Though ESPN executives have spent the last several weeks pitching this plan to cable operators, talks are expected to heat up this week as the cable industry gathers for its annual trade show in Washington, D.C.
ESPN to offer Classic-for-ESPNU swap (Sports Business Journal)