The new channels will pull in content from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3 and ESPNews and will cover 15 college conferences. ESPN focused on smaller conferences that don’t have a TV strategy, which means the major conferences like the Big Ten, SEC and Pac 12 are notably missing from ESPN’s new list.
The conference channels at launch are: ACC, America East, Atlantic Sun, Big South, Big West, Horizon, Mid-American, Metro Atlantic Athletic, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Southern, Sun Belt, Southland, and a channel that combines historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that are part of the Mid-Eastern Athletic, Southwestern Athletic and Central Intercollegiate Athletic conferences.
ESPN is bringing these 15 college conference channel to the Roku and Apple TV first, skipping over mobile devices like the iPad and iPhone.
ESPN is launching the 15 college channels with Apple TV and Roku devices because “we wanted to deliver a TV experience,” Phillips said. “This is one of the first times when the TV devices led off first.” In addition, he said, the viewership on those devices is significant — in fact, time spent viewing WatchESPN on Apple TV and Roku is higher than the average time cable TV viewers watch the traditional linear channels.
The WatchESPN channels are available to subscribers of approved pay-TV providers, which includes Comcast, Time Warner Cable, AT&T U-verse TV, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Charter, Cox, Google Fiber, Verizon FiOS and other pay-TV providers. The WatchESPN service is not available to DirecTV and Dish Network satellite subscribers.
Are you a college sports fan? Will you tune into these new Apple TV channels? Let us know in the comments.