Thursday, September 14, 2000
ESPN.com goes mobile with SBC Wireless and Nokia
DALLAS (Sept. 14, 2000) - In another move to allow consumers to receive information they want while on the go, SBC Wireless (NYSE:SBC), Nokia, and ESPN.com today announced that SBC Wireless and Nokia are the exclusive wireless sponsors of ESPN.com's popular 3Play interactive sports game, which is packaged with e-mail, text messaging, and information services at no cost for SBC Wireless customers for the first six months of service. ESPN.com is part of Walt Disney Internet group (NYSE:DIG).
SBC Wireless customers now can join the almost 2 million people who have played ESPN.com's 3Play, an innovative sports game that offers daily cash prizes based on the performance of three randomly selected athletes. Since debuting in April, the game has been played more than 38 million times. SBC Wireless provides the new information package through its Pacific Bell Wireless, Southwestern Bell Wireless, Nevada Bell Wireless, Ameritech Cellular1, Cellular One2, and SNET Wireless3 properties.
"We can provide wireless subscribers with up-to-date information while on the go, allow user's wireless phones to be their e-mail address, and allow users to send wireless text messages any time," said Stephen Carter, president and CEO of SBC Wireless. "By providing services like ESPN.com's 3Play along with a variety of information and messaging services, SBC Wireless is reaching a highly mobile audience that wants to be in touch while they're away from home or the office."
3Play Messaging Package
SBC Wireless' service package allows subscribers to be automatically entered each day in ESPN.com's 3Play game and receive a message on their Nokia wireless phone with the names of their three randomly assigned athletes for the day. In the evening, another message will display the athletes' results, and will notify the subscriber if they have won 3Play and a cash prize. Subscribers can customize the delivery time for 3Play updates.
"This is a great example of creating an innovative, customized program which meets the needs of our clients, while enhancing the user experience," said Riley McDonough, vice president, advertising sales, ESPN Internet Group. "Our goal is to bring the ESPN.com experience to fans wherever they may be, and taking a leadership role regarding wireless content distribution fits perfectly into that strategy."
To initiate the 3Play game, SBC Wireless subscribers can visit their local wireless affiliate's web site or ESPN.com to register. 3Play athlete points are based on how athletes perform in that day's events, and the daily winner of 3Play is the customer whose three athletes accumulate the most total points for that day. The game is free and participants can win thousands of dollars a day, with the largest daily award to date at more than $30,000.
"The ability to bring fun interactive games is a compelling part of enabling the mobile information society," said Debra Kennedy, director of consumer and brand marketing for Nokia. "Nokia is pleased to be able to work with SBC Wireless and ESPN.com to bring a fun wireless application like 3Play to the pockets of sports fans everywhere."
SBC Wireless customers also can receive updates regarding their ESPN.com Fantasy Football team, which is a fantasy team comprised of real-life professional football players created by registered ESPN.com Fantasy Football players who compete to see who has the best team management skills. Subscribers can have real time news and information about their Fantasy Football team sent directly to their wireless phone.
In addition to 3Play and Fantasy Football, wireless customers will enjoy a variety of package features, including text messaging, e-mail, and InfoPak 3 service. Text messaging allows customers to send and receive messages on their wireless phone displays, and subscribers also can have e-mails sent directly to their wireless phones from the local wireless affiliate's web site or an e-mail program. With InfoPak 3 powered by i3 Mobile, customers receive byte-sized, customizable information, such as weather, news, stock information, and horoscope, on their wireless phone. Subscribers can choose between 30 InfoPak topics, and can change their selections daily on their local wireless affiliate's web site.
About SBC Wireless
1. SBC Wireless affiliates provide the ESPN.com information package under the Ameritech Cellular brand name in Michigan and areas of Ohio and Wisconsin.
2. SBC Wireless affiliates provide the ESPN.com information package under the Cellular One brand name in parts of Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. The ESPN.com information package will be available in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey beginning Oct. 1.
3.SBC Wireless affiliate SNET Wireless will provide the ESPN.com information package beginning Oct. 1.
SBC Communications Inc. (www.sbc.com) is a global communications leader. Through its subsidiaries' trusted brands - Southwestern Bell, Ameritech, Pacific Bell, SBC Telecom, Nevada Bell, SNET and Cellular One - and world-class network, SBC's subsidiaries provide local and long-distance phone service, wireless and data communications, paging, high-speed Internet access and messaging, cable and satellite television, security services and telecommunications equipment, as well as directory advertising and publishing. In the United States, the company currently has 61.2 million access lines, 12.2 million wireless customers and is undertaking a national expansion program that will bring SBC service to an additional 30 markets. Internationally, SBC has telecommunications investments in more than 20 countries. With approximately 219,000 employees, SBC is the 13th-largest employer in the U.S., with annual revenues that rank it among the largest Fortune 500 companies.
ESPN.com, the leading sports Web site, is part of the Walt Disney Internet Group (NYSE:DIG). WDIG manages some of the Internet's most popular Web sites, including ABC.com, ABCNEWS.com, ABCSports.com, Disney.com, Disneystore.com, DisneyTravel.com, ESPN.com, Family.com, GO.com, Movies.com, Mr. Showbiz, NASCAR Online, NBA.com, NFL.com and Soccernet. The Internet Group also includes The Walt Disney Company's direct marketing business. Steve Bornstein is chairman of Walt Disney Internet Group, which is headquartered in North Hollywood, Calif., with operations in Sunnyvale, Calif.; Seattle; New York; Bristol, Conn.; and London. For more information, visit our web site at www.dig.com (http://www.dig.com).
Nokia is paving the way to the Mobile Information Society with its innovative products and solutions. The company is the leading mobile phone supplier and a leading supplier of mobile, fixed and IP networks, related services as well as multimedia terminals. In 1999, Nokia's net sales totaled EUR 19.8 billion (USD 19.9 billion). Headquartered in Finland, Nokia is listed on the New York (NOK), Helsinki, Stockholm, London, Frankfurt and Paris stock exchanges and employs more than 60 000 people.