ESPN is releasing a redesigned and rebranded app for Apple TV today, and in the process replacing the old “WatchESPN” app. The new app, dubbed simply “ESPN”, brings a revamped user interface that includes auto-playing live streams at launch and new on-demand content.
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“From replays to full episodes of on-demand content prior to their telecast premieres, ESPN’s tvOS app is now so much more than our live streaming networks,” said Ryan Spoon, senior vice president of digital product, design and audience development, ESPN. “With this latest update, authenticated users now have the full benefit of engaging with a wide range of live and on-demand video content from the very first click into what is now the ESPN App on Apple TV.”
As for the new on-demand content, ESPN says you’ll find “hundreds of hours of additional content from 30 for 30, E:60, Outside the Lines, SC Featured, World Series of Poker, X Games and more.” Nothing has changed in terms of accessing the content, as users will still need to authenticate with a cable provider for full access to live streams and the new on-demand content.
The company also notes that the redesigned app comes just ahead of the launch of its new “We the Fans” original series that will debut exclusively on April 9 through its digital platforms, including the new Apple TV app, two days before it airs on ESPN.
While the name of the Apple TV app has changed, it appears the company hasn’t abandoned the brand entirely yet as it confirmed to us its other apps and online platform will for now keep the WatchESPN name.
Last year The Walt Disney Company announced that it acquired a 33 percent stake in BAMTech, a company building video streaming technology, which the company said would be used for new streaming services for ESPN among its other networks. The service was described as a companion subscription service that would complement other offerings, but it’s unclear how the yet to be launched service will be distributed or differ exactly from the WatchESPN streaming service:
BAMTech will also collaborate with ESPN to launch and distribute a new ESPN-branded multi-sport subscription streaming service in the future. The direct-to-consumer service will feature content provided by both BAMTech and ESPN, and include live regional, national and international sporting events.
The new ESPN app for Apple TV should be rolling out today.
- Live Streaming Auto-Play: Upon launching the app, a live stream of one of ESPN’s networks will now automatically play for authenticated users.
- ESPN Video On Demand: A new collection of curated on-demand videos including hundreds of hours of additional content from 30 for 30, E:60, Outside the Lines, SC Featured, World Series of Poker, X Games and more.
- Sleeker, Simpler User Interface: In addition to visual graphic enhancements to Featured content, users can also browse videos by Sports & Events or Channels.