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ESPN to offer TV programs on Apple’s iTunes?

Rumors are abuzz that Walt Disney’s ESPN cable sports division might be entering a landmark deal with Apple Computer soon. There have been no discussions yet between ESPN and Apple, but ESPN and ABC Sports president George Bodenheimer has stated that they are looking into offering its roster of original shows and game clips to “any pipe, any device”.

Of course, such a deal isn’t really that surprising considering that ESPN’s erstwhile cousin, ABC television networks, has already entered such a deal with Apple, providing its hit TV programs Lost and Desperate Housewives for US $1.99 per episode on the iTunes service.

Such a deal between ESPN and Apple seems to be in line with the former’s plans of ‘expansion’. It has already announced its a cell phone service called Mobile ESPN (made possible by leasing space on Sprint Nextel’s mobile phone network). In fact, the Sanyo MM-9000 carrying the ESPN brand name will be available at Best Buy retail outlets in February 2006. In addition, ESPN was one of the first media firms to introduce full-fledged high speed Internet video programming services, ESPN 360.

That’s not all; Bodenheimer has also revealed that ESPN just might get the broadcast rights for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR).

With all these developements, ESPN claims that it is confident of seeing “double digits” percentage growth through 2009.



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