The New York Times reported that ESPN is currently in talks with Microsoft to stream video of live sporting events to Xbox Live subscribers.
An anonymous source close to the negotiations claimed that the Walt Disney Company, owners of the ESPN network, were working towards a deal with Microsoft. ESPN currently offers a service called ESPN 360 which streams live sporting events to your computer, but the service is only available if your internet service provider has paid ESPN to show the content. The potential deal with Microsoft and Disney could bring a similar streaming service to subscribers of Xbox Live, but it is unclear whether users will need to pay an additional fee. Microsoft refused to comment on the story and have indicated that the Times article was "rumor and speculation."
The deal seems like a no-brainer for Microsoft, who has always tried to expand its videogame console beyond games into movies and social media, as evidenced by pioneering Netflix and Facebook apps on Xbox Live.
"Our goal is, really, how can we get as much content there as possible," said Marc Whitten, general manager of Xbox Live.
Sports viewing is always a hit or miss affair, and it often depends on the whims of your cable or satellite provider whether your team's game will be shown. A live streaming service on Xbox Live would hopefully cut down a lot of that frustration, especially for fans that no longer live near their favorite team.
The thing that excites me the most is if Microsoft and ESPN were to offer some sort of DVR service. The Xbox 360 Elite has a pretty big hard drive and I could see this streaming service allowing you to record games that you might not be able to watch live. If I could watch every game I wanted, whenever I wanted, then I would be a happy man.
Now, if only the Yankees would stop buying the World Series...