Audi is the name sponsor on the newly redesigned ESPN app that was unveiled as part of Disney’s introduction of its ESPN+ video streaming service that has American Express as a lead sponsor, per a statement. ESPN declined to say how long the companies will sponsor the app and subscription streaming service, per Variety.
The app has a new design to make it more personal and dynamic. All users can access scores, news, highlights and audio while live and on-demand access is available for for pay TV subscribers and anyone can pony up for the subscription-based over-the-top streaming. On mobile, the app features five primary navigation menus: Home, Scores, Watch, Listen and Sports. The app is also available for living room devices.
The ESPN app won’t have display ads or pre- or post-roll ads that appear as users open the app or a program ends, but video ads will play during the normal breaks during live games, per TechCrunch.
Audi has been a longtime sponsor of ESPN’s cable channels, and as the sports programmer adapts to the cord-cutting trend, the carmaker is on board as the name sponsor of the ESPN app. Disney’s introduction of ESPN+ is the first part of the media giant’s strategy to create video streaming services that were pioneered by internet-based companies like Netflix and Amazon. Meanwhile, Twitter and Facebook also have entered the market for live sports programming to lure brand advertisers and keep audiences engaged.
ESPN+ is an attempt to maintain the relevance of ESPN as a sports entertainment brand as sports fans increasingly move away from traditional broadcast and TV offerings, which has hurt ESPN's cable business. The new service costs $4.99 per month or $49.99 a year and currently is only available in the U.S. The sports channel this week is offering a special 30-day free trial subscription, a promo sponsored by American Express. The financial-services company also is the presenting sponsor of the entire library of ESPN Films’ “30 for 30” documentary features. ESPN+ features programming that isn’t available on its cable channels, including live games from MLB, NHL, Major League Soccer and the PGA, in addition to international sports like soccer, cricket and rugby. ESPN+ is launching on devices including Fire TV, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Android phones, Android TV and Chromecast, with more planned.
ESPN isn’t aiming to replace its cable channel with its ESPN+ streaming service, but its mobile app does act as a gateway for its content in one way or another. The newly redesigned app also has personalization features, including a home screen that can be customized to follow individual teams, that make it easier for on-the-go mobile users who want updates at a glance.