By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
The ESPN College Extra channel, which has been a provider of ESPN3’s online broadcasts for cable and satellite operators, will cease operations on August 15, The TV Answer Man has learned. The channel, which launched in 2015, has been available on DIRECTV and Verizon, among other pay TV services. “ESPN College Extra brings hundreds of ESPN3 exclusive live college sports events to the TV. The service delivers an extensive portfolio of college sports events year-round including football, basketball, baseball, softball and more. ESPN College Extra will be delivered to fans on up to eight channels through a sports tier or other affiliated TV package,” ESPN says on the College Extra site page.
But The TV Answer Man has learned that ESPN College Extra will sunset as of August 15. ESPN3 will continue to broadcast a selection of games, although the majority of college events previously available on both ESPN College Extra and ESPN3 will now be available on ESPN+. Pay TV providers that carry ESPN College Extra have posted viewer alerts that the channel will be removed.
The decision to close ESPN College Extra is another example of legacy media shifting focus from traditional pay TV outlets to streaming. Disney CEO Robert Iger recently told CNBC that the company is contemplating offering the entire ESPN programming lineup via a standalone streaming service in the coming years. Disney already has ESPN+, a $9.99 a month streaming service, that provides a select group of ESPN shows and live sporting events.
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— Phillip Swann