Is Disney’s ESPN stupid?  Launches new ‘ESPN3’ site based on Adobe’s closed, proprietary Flash

invisibleSHIELD case for iPadESPN3 is ESPN’s new broadband network for live sports programming. It was formerly called “ESPN360.”

According to ESPN: “ESPN3 harnesses the quality ESPN has built through its TV networks and delivers online sports programming to fans through a rich, interactive, and easy-to-use experience. ESPN3 broadcasts thousands of live games and events online each year. A majority of the events are exclusive to ESPN3, while others are broadband-enhanced versions of games from one of ESPN’s TV networks.”

ESPN is owned by The Walt Disney Company.

The Walt Disney Company’s largest individual shareholder, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, can’t be happy about this mickey mouse subsidiary’s blatant incompetence, can he?

Disney is a notorious Flash junky. Consider this an intervention. It’s time for rehab, Disney; time to get clean.

MacDailyNews Take: The answer to the question posed in our headline is “Yes.” If Steve Jobs isn’t on the horn raising holy hell by 9am PDT, he ought to be. Meanwhile we, and 90+ million others, sit here with our iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches looking at a brand new ESPN website wondering if any company could possibly be any stupider and more myopic.

ESPN advertisers should realize that they are locked out of delivering their messages to 90+ million potential customers with above average discretionary income and the proven willingness to spend it. Disney and ESPN advertisers and shareholders (including the largest individual shareholder) should demand that Disney and ESPN use open standards, not bloated, crash-prone, closed, proprietary, plug-in-based, vestigial delivery methods for online video.

Get with the program, Disney and ESPN.

Contact Info:
• ESPN Customer Care Team: 888-549-ESPN
ESPN Feedback
• ESPN Report a Bug Video Player Online Chatroom Feedback (login req’d)

Note to advertisers: (including those who advertise via third-party ad networks and become, in effect, our advertisers): Your Flash-based ads are no longer reaching the most well-heeled customers online: 50+ million iPhone owners. They’re also not hitting 35+ million iPod touch users or 1+ million brand new iPad users. If you care about reaching people with discretionary income, you might want to consider dumping your flash-based ads and moving to a more open format that people with money and the will to spend it can actually see.

Help kill Adobe’s Flash:
• Ask MarketWatch to offer HTML5 video via the customer support web form here.
• Ask CNBC to offer HTML5 video via the customer support web form here.
• Contact Hulu and ask them to offer HTML5 video via email:
• Ask ESPN360 to offer HTML5 video instead Flash via their feedback page here.
• Join YouTube’s HTML5 beta here.
• On Vimeo, click the “Switch to HTML5 player” link below any video.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jeff Z.” for the heads up.]


  1. This site may have been in development for quite some time. I’m sure the conversion to HTML5 is already underway, but to delay the launch because Apple and Adobe ratcheted up their fight over the past couple of weeks is unfair.

  2. Do any mobile platforms support FLASH? I know DROID DOES … NOT!

    ESPN is not only missing with boat with Apple mobile products, but most mobile products. What are they thinking? And you’re right, their largest stockholder should be calling someone to task over this.

  3. “ESPN advertisers should realize that they are locked out of delivering their messages to 90+ million potential customers with above average discretionary income”

    And not JUST espn.

  4. Jobs shouldn’t and cannot call in his capacity as a shareholder. As a board member, he can quiz management on it’s decision making, but at the end of the day, that’s all a board does, is oversee management, and approve commitment of material resources through out the businesses.

  5. Just emailed the site and politely explained why HTML5 is the future of the web and why it’s in their best interest to make the switch.

    I’ve been doing that a lot lately. If all Mac users did the same, we can make the transition happen even more rapidly!

  6. Sports are for men. And real men don’t use iPads.

    Seriously, the entire Disney web presence is built in Flash. They must of built an inhouse department with nothing but Flash developers. I don’t think that can build a non-Flash site without firing everyone.

  7. So, they should re-write the site with cutting edge HTML5, thereby cutting off the measly 50-70% of desktop/laptop users browsing with non-HTML5 compatible browsers like IE?
    Some seriously sound business advice right there…

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