Thanks to smartly done Super Bowl spots, courtesy of Arnold, and ubiquitous house ads on ESPN’s 8,000 or so cable channels, the broadcaster’s ambitious foray into multimedia cellular service has gotten quite a launch. Now, the hard part: Convince customers to part with $200 for a Mobile ESPN phone, switch to Sprint if they don’t already have it, pay $35-$225 a month for two years, and then only receive ESPN-approved content. Wall Street Journal tech guru Walt Mossberg was particularly exasperated over ESPN blocking access to some sites, including competitor Sports Illustrated. A month after its glitzy debut, evidence of these phones flying off the shelves is scant. Deadspin.com, a haven of upscale sports junkies, pleaded with its readers to speak up if they even knew anyone who owned the thing. The response: crickets. Not good when one commenter summed up his reaction this way: “The guys who launched this thing are incredibly arrogant and dumb. This is going to be as popular as their attempt to sell their dumb SportsCenter commercials on iTunes.” So, has anyone out there actually gotten Mobile ESPN?
—Posted by Brian Morrissey