Microsoft plans to bring ESPN, other sports and shows to Xbox

The company says that it will now offer ESPN, access to NBA games, some hockey and programs from companies like Nickelodeon, Machinima, and others.

Microsoft is excited about its ESPN partnership on the Xbox.
Microsoft is excited about its ESPN partnership on the Xbox. James Martin/CNET

Microsoft has dramatically expanded the sports and entertainment offerings available via its Xbox 360.

At its E3 keynote today, the company said that it plans to add 35 more content providers to the Xbox, including Nickelodeon, Machinima, and others. That, Microsoft says, will complement the more than 200 million movies, television shows, and videos it has added to Xbox Live in the last year.

The big draw, however, might be the addition of more sports content. According to Microsoft, it will soon offer full access to ESPN programming across many of its channels, including ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN 3, and ESPN U. The programming will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and include ESPN's popular shows, including Sportscenter.

Aside from ESPN, Microsoft says that its offering will also come with access to National Basketball Association games -- about 2,400 -- and more than 40 NHL games per week.

Finally, Microsoft said that it has inked a deal with Nike for a new service, called "Nike+ Kinect Training for Xbox. The so-called "fitness system" ties into the user's Fuelband monitoring device and a smartphone app, and of course, will work with the company's motion-gaming peripheral.

This story has been updated throughout the morning.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.


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