ESPN: We’re Working on an Apple TV Deal

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ESPN President John Skipper says he's working on an Apple TV content deal that sidesteps cable television subscriptions. He says they're building a "great television experience," but other content providers are dragging their heels.

Apple in talks with ESPN for streaming contentApple in talks with ESPN for streaming content

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal he said, "We are big proponents of believing [Apple TV] would be a fabulous place to sell some subscriptions. We have ongoing conversations."

Those discussions could fill a big gap in Apple's content for its rumored streaming television package: live sports coverage. Without that, Apple will have a hard time convincing a substantial part of its potential subscriber base to switch over from traditional cable and satellite TV providers.

He added Apple is "creating a significantly advantageous operating system and a great television experience and that television experience is fabulous for sports."

Reports claim Apple has been working on lining up content for its own streaming television package to compete with Comcast, Dish, and other big time television providers. The company hasn't, however, been able to get the content providers it wants on board.

Until those deals are in place, Apple won't be able to announce its service, which isn't sitting well with the iPhone and iPad maker. "They have been frustrated by their ability to construct something which works for them with programmers," Mr. Skipper said.

Mr. Skipper's comments should put to rest the notion that Apple has abandoned plans to launch its own streaming television service, at least for now. If Apple and ESPN are in talks, and Mr. Skipper is excited about a potential deal, then there's still hope for potential cord cutters waiting to ditch their Comcast and Dish subscriptions.

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If ESPN is excited about a potential Apple TV streaming service, then there's a chance other content providers are interested in signing deals, too. It's a slow process, so don't expect to see Apple announcing any deals in the next few weeks or even months.

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Ever been to a show where there’s a $20 cover and a 2-drink (at high-prices) minimum?

If you want to watch much in the way of sports on TV, there’s something like a $70 cover and 2 package (set of channels) minimum. Instead, you may end up in restaurants or bars with televised sports with a one purchase (at lower prices) minimum.

Scott B in DC

ESPN’s revenues are down according to Disney. Cable companies are not adding new subscribers and they have been balking about the price increases. ESPN charges more than any other pay television service. They see the market eroding and want to jump on a bandwagon now. Apple has one of the biggest bandwagons around, even if their service doesn’t look like it. Apple is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Thus, this news is not surprising!

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