ESPN is getting into the cell phone business. The all-sports cable channel's ESPN Mobile will make offer sports junkies instant access to scores and sports news. ESPN is mostly owned by Walt Disney Co., which is also planning a Disney-branded cell phone service.
ESPN Mobile will operated over Sprint's network. Sprint, the nation's third largest cellular carrier, also provides the underlying communications service for a number of other companies, including Qwest, AT&T (not AT&T Wireless, which has merged with Cingular) and Virgin.
ESPN's cable channel reaches nearly 90 million U.S. homes and the company's executives are betting many of them will want to switch to a cell phone service that puts them just a click away from scores and headlines.
Tightly-targeted cell brands may be the next big thing in wireless communications. Virgin Mobile is aimed at younger users, as is Nextel's Boost Mobile.
Although details of the Disney cell service aren't yet known, it will presumably be targeted to