Time Warner Cable, ESPN team up for Monday Night Football online tonight

Time Warner Cable and ESPN this week are testing whether live premium programming--initially tonight's Monday Night Football game between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants--streamed online behind a paywall will prove attractive to fans and, eventually provide revenue.

ESPN will be available to any TWC authenticated subscriber on the Internet.

"We think this can be a catalyst to drive the industry towards broader adoption of the authentication model," said Sean Bratches, executive vice president of sales with ESPN. "We anticipate doing this with a number of other affiliates."

While it's not the first live sports stream going out in the U.S., it is one of the biggest with the MNF franchise--albeit with more modest ratings than it had two decades ago--still considered a major draw (even with the Jekyll & Hyde Giants against the We-Once-Were America's Team Cowboys ). Nonetheless, the Wall Street Journal called it "a high profile stage for a risky experiment."

Melinda Witmer, chief programming officer with Time Warner Cable, said the company sees the deal with ESPN as "a wake-up call for the sports industry" and a good step forward in the TV Everywhere ecosystem.

"It will demonstrate that the Internet can be used productively for live sports programming in a way that benefits both distributors and content providers," she said.

For more:
- see this WSJ article

Related articles:
'MNF,' ESPN streaming live on the Internet starting Oct. 25
'MNF,' ESPN streaming live on the Internet starting Oct. 25
DirecTV and ESPN tee up a big British Open package

Suggested Articles

Comcast, Charter and ViacomCBS today announced that they will all take equal ownership of Blockgraph.

Cord cutting will get worse for cable companies. But the financial impact for those same companies will be limited.

Comcast reached a distribution agreement with HBO Max and will offer the service for no extra charge to its existing HBO subscribers.