ESPN Seeks Immunity From Wireless Data Caps

Paul Lilly

Mega sports site is working on a homerun deal with wireless carriers.

ESPN, the cable sports network that's mostly owned by Walt Disney Co., is reportedly knee-deep in discussions with at least one major wireless carrier in the U.S. to subsidize wireless connectivity for its users, meaning that its content wouldn't count towards a user's data cap. Sports fans would then be free to view as many videos on ESPN as they want without worrying about how much data they're chewing through.

No specific deal is yet in place, though one of the proposals floating around is that ESPN would pay a carrier a sum to ensure that its mobile content wouldn't be counted against a user's monthly data cap, The Wall Street Journal reports . Whether or not the deal ultimately comes to fruition will depend on the economics of it all, as well as any objections raised by telecom regulators.

There are different ways ESPN could go about this. Outside of paying a fee, ESPN could agree to share advertising revenue with wireless carriers in exchange for data cap immunity. It's a potential win-win-win situation in which ESPN could garner more viewers and site hits, wireless carriers could increase their pocketbooks, and wireless subscribers would have the peace of mind in knowing that last night's game highlights won't count against their data plan.

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