BRISTOL, Conn., Oct 25, 2005 - ESPN and Best Buy have announced that Best Buy locations around the country will support the national retail launch of Mobile ESPN - the first, national U.S. wireless phone service provider targeted specifically to sports fans - beginning Sunday, February 5, 2006. Best Buy will serve as the exclusive "bricks and mortar" retail distributor of Mobile ESPN for 60 days following launch.
Beginning November 1, 2005, customers in four select pre-launch markets - Austin, Tex.; Minneapolis; Reno, Nev.; and San Antonio - will be able to purchase Mobile ESPN products and services at Best Buy stores.
"ESPN is continuing its strategy of working with industry leaders to bring fans the best mobile sports news and information service," said Manish Jha, senior vice president and general manager of Mobile ESPN. "Best Buy has a successful track record in selling innovative technology, and we are confident that Best Buy customer specialists, who are themselves big ESPN fans, will create a tremendous purchase experience for Mobile ESPN. Sports fans, as well as those looking for the perfect sports fan gift, will now have yet another reason to visit Best Buy."
Added Jennifer Schaidler, vice president, personal communications experience for Best Buy, "We are very excited to work with Mobile ESPN in this exclusive retail launch of its mobile media sports experience. Over the past year, we have invested a great deal to enhance the cellular purchase experience for our customers within our stores. Mobile ESPN is a one-of-a-kind wireless product that truly differentiates this experience for them."
Mobile ESPN will operate as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) utilizing Sprint's nationwide network for wireless voice and data service. It will take advantage of the Sprint EVDO (Evolution Data Optimized) service, which by year end is expected to be available to approximately 143 million people. By early 2006, when the national build-out is complete, Sprint's EVDO service will be available in approximately 64 metropolitan areas.
Mobile ESPN will offer customizable ESPN contentincluding real-time scores, breaking news, commentary and analysis; fantasy sports information and team management; audio and video programming; and MP3 audio playback capability. At launch, Mobile ESPN will be available on the Sanyo MVP, a unique handset fashioned and branded exclusively for Mobile ESPN. Beginning in time for the 2005 holiday season, Mobile ESPN will be available for purchase at www.mobileespn.com, the exclusive Web site for purchase online.
About Mobile ESPN Mobile ESPN is the division of ESPN Inc. devoted to extending the ESPN brand and content over the wireless medium. It includes two distinct business units: Mobile ESPN - The first national wireless phone service provider targeted to sports fans, Mobile ESPN will offer unparalleled sports programming and entertainment from ESPN on unique ESPN-branded mobile handsets. Mobile ESPN Publishing - Access to ESPN content from ESPN Mobile Publishing is available through licensing agreements with every major domestic wireless carrier, as well as internationally in Japan and Mexico. ESPNsoccernet.com and ESPN Deportes also provide licensed content, including ESPN Soccer GameCast and an ESPN Deportes photo gallery.
About ESPN, Inc. ESPN, Inc. is the world's leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of over 50 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of seven domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU, ESPN Today), ESPN and ESPN2 HD simulcast services, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (networks, syndication, radio, web sites), ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, SportsTicker, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN Zones (sports-themed restaurants), and other growing new businesses including ESPN360 (Broadband), Mobile ESPN, ESPN on Demand, ESPN Interactive and ESPN PPV. Based in Bristol, Ct., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.
About Best Buy Co., Inc. Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE: BBY) is an innovative Fortune 100 growth company that continually strives to create superior customer experiences. Through more than 840 retail stores across the United States and in Canada, our employees connect customers with technology and entertainment products and services that make life easier and more fun. We sell consumer electronics, home-office products, entertainment software, appliances and related services. A Minneapolis-based company, our operations include: Best Buy (BestBuy.com and BestBuy.ca), Future Shop (FutureShop.ca), Geek Squad (GeekSquad.com and GeekSquad.ca) and Magnolia Audio Video (Magnoliaav.com). We support our communities through employee volunteerism and grants from The Best Buy Children's Foundation.