Sprint has had a long history with sports. Many years ago, ESPN launched their own mobile offering - ESPN Mobile - that was run on Sprint's mobile network using rebranded Sprint phones, most notably the Samsung A900. Later, Sprint gained an exclusive deal with the NFL to provide Sprint NFL Live, an app available on almost all of their handsets, that provided streaming of live content as well as news stories, special announcements and exclusive videos. Recently, however, Sprint NFL Live was shut down because Verizon Wireless offered almost double, a total of $720 million, to take the exclusivity away from Sprint.
While an obvious strategic business move, it seems to have not been executed to the same level as Sprint. If you have Verizon Wireless and a Blackberry or Android phone you're all set, but if you have a standard phone or PalmOS, webOS or Windows Mobile (Windows Phone), just to name a few, you are out of luck. The Verizon NFL app will not be available on your handsets, despite its availability on nearly all Sprint phones (including Palm, webOS and WinPho).
In response, Sprint has created 2 new offerings. First, they launched Sprint Football Live, a nearly direct replacement for NFL Live. It will not offer the live streaming that it used to, but it does offer all of the exclusive content and has been expanded to cover college football as well. Second, and more excitingly, they have rekindled their relationship with ESPN, bringing ESPN Mobile, now a broadcast network dedicated entirely to mobile devices, exclusively to Sprint TV. The best part? If you have an Everything Data or above plan, there is no extra charge for the service.
ESPN has promised to keep the content coming, but it started things off with 12 live Men's NCAA Basketball games, 19 live Women's NCAA basketball games, 9 NBA playoffs, 15 regular season NBA games, 10 regular MLB games and a lot more since launch and over the next few weeks. If they can keep this up, Sprint customers might not be as out of luck as they thought. And, like the NFL app, this is available on nearly all of Sprint's phones.