Comcast said today that it has strengthened it sports lineup, both online and on linear TV, and launched ESPN360.com on its Web portal.
Of note for Comcast sports fans, the nation’s largest cable operator has added NFL Network, NBA TV, NHL Network and ESPNU on its digital preferred package, instead of through a sports package that costs more per month. Comcast was previously embroiled in a dispute with the NFL Network about its inclusion on a sports package instead of a more widely accessible tier, but the two sides resolved their dispute earlier this year.
“For no additional charge, we're giving compelling sports networks to millions of digital video customers and a fantastic online sports experience to all of our high-speed customers," said Derek Harrar, general manager and senior vice president of video services for Comcast. "This change marks a major product enhancement by offering the best sports entertainment to customers on their terms, whether on TV, on demand or online."
NFL Network, NBA TV, NHL Network and ESPNU join MLB Network, ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Golf Channel, Speed and Versus on the digital preferred tier. Comcast said it will continue to offer its Sports Entertainment tier to customers, with networks including Fox Soccer, Fox College Sports, Tennis Channel, Gol TV and ESPN Classic.
With ESPN360.com, Comcast said its high-speed Internet customers will have access to live online sports coverage from thousands of international events throughout the year, including everything from soccer events such as FIFA World Cup to the Cricket World Cup, lacrosse, football, basketball, baseball and more. The content is available to subscribers on Comcast.net.
The third leg of Comcast’s sports offerings is via its on-demand platform, which includes special programming, player and team information, game recaps and interviews from many of the programmers that Comcast carries. The on-demand offering also offers local sports coverage in markets that Comcast serves, including the Denver Broncos, Pittsburg Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles.