On Friday, ESPN was said to be in talks with one or more wireless carriers over the possible subsidizing of data plans for certain customers for their consumption of data content from the network. There are more than 45 million ESPN digital users with that number growing constantly.
The sports broadcaster would prefer that its users did not stop tuning in on their mobile electronic devices because they are worried they would use up all their data content for the month since most wireless carriers are no long offering data plans that are uncapped. One analyst said if ESPN offered this, it would be a worry free pleasure for sports lovers.
The Federal Communications Commission requires that wireless carriers advise their users with an alert when they are nearing the limit of their data plan each month. One wireless carrier apparently told ESPN that when its user near the limit, they significantly lower their usage of the data plan so they will not exceed their limit and pay much higher unit costs.
If ESPN were to pay for some of its users to watch SportsCenter on their iPads or other mobile devices, the users would no longer have to worry about their data limit being exceeded.
For wireless providers, those types of agreements are a win-win situation since one way or the other they will be paid for the data service they are providing. ESPN would, at least in the beginning, not be able to sell sufficient mobile advertising since the industry is still too new, but mobile ad budgets for businesses are close to doubling every year.