ESPN will stop charging online programming fees to registered military members and college students, reports The New York Times.
Visitors to ESPN.com who hit the site from .edu or .mil domains can access ESPN360 content, including streaming coverage of sporting events, free of charge. This might double the viewers of live games, which failed to spark the traffic inferno ESPN hoped for.
The switch in strategies is a tacit acknowledgment that network cable's fee-based structure doesn't quite work online.
But ESPN360 has also been hampered by its general lack of availability. Unlike websites available to most anyone with an internet connection, ISPs must offer ESPN360.
AT&T, RCN and Verizon carry it, but Time Warner Cable and Comcast do not.