Review: The Premier League on ESPN 3 with Xbox Live

Xbox Live users received an update that included many new features including an application that allows ESPN 3 content to be streamed right to your television through an Xbox 360 this Monday.

For those unfamiliar, ESPN 3 is the re-branded ESPN web content provider available at The majority of events are college American football but also includes basketball, cricket, rugby, and, of course, football. The variety of leagues is quite impressive with Copa Del Rey, Eredivisie, German Bundesliga, La Liga, MLS, Portuguese League, and Serie A represented. A few international friendlies and quite a few Euro 2012 qualifiers are also available. Most importantly, ESPN’s Premier League matches are featured. All content on the ESPN 3 web site appears to be identical on the ESPN 3 Xbox Live application.

After downloading the Xbox Live update, restarting, downloading the ESPN 3 addon, and restarting again, I was able to run the ESPN 3 application and was impressed by the presentation right away. The home screen is a mock stadium with a row of big screens displaying featured sporting events. Huddled together under the screens are the avatars of some of the users currently using the application.

Overall, the picture quality was excellent. I tested the new application by watching the Blackpool against West Bromwich and Los Angeles against Seattle matches on replay and they looked beautiful. The information panel includes an HD bar that indicates your level of picture quality and I was able to achieve four out of four bars for most of the games. While a few seconds of blurriness would occasionally occur (most likely due to buffering), the picture was at the very least near-HD quality the majority of the games. I am sure those infrequent seconds of blurriness may have been more prevalent if I had watched the match live and the picture quality will also be very dependent on your location and connection speed.

The list of features indicated a few that are exclusive to the Xbox Live application such as the ability to set your favorite sports or leagues to be viewed on the home screen and favorites tab, capability to view highlights of matches, a predict the winner game during live broadcasts, and voice chat functionality.

While the favorite sports or leagues tab is nothing revolutionary, it is a welcome addition to let users access all the available games for a given sport or league upon launching the application. There are highlights galore for other sports but sadly the only football highlights I could find were short, web clips from Lastly, the predict the winner feature is currently only used on select college football, college basketball, MLB, and NBA games.

I didn’t have a chance to test the chat feature but this has to be the most exciting feature for me. Users start a “party” of up to eight people while in the Xbox Live dashboard, launch the ESPN 3 application, and are then able to voice chat while watching a match. While it will never replace the atmosphere of going to the local bar, it’s definetly the best alternative I’ve ever heard of. Without a hint of sarcasm, I can now ask visitors from all over the globe accessing this web site, “anyone interested in watching Bolton against Tottenham this weekend?”

My overall experience was great and I’m eager to test the chat feature but the addition of highlights and the prediction feature for football leagues would make this a more complete package for football supporters.

I have to also note that ESPN 3 on Xbox Live isn’t at all free. In addition to needing to own an Xbox 360 console, you must be a Gold, Xbox Live member. This will run you $60 for a year of service. While this is quite a price to see one or two Premier League games per week, this can definitely be seen as a welcome bonus for those of us already in possession of the console and membership for gaming purposes. Also of note, you must be on a participating internet service provider (like Comcast) and live in the United States.

What are your thoughts?

14 thoughts on “Review: The Premier League on ESPN 3 with Xbox Live”

    1. I believe ESPN signed an exclusive contract with Xbox. That doesn’t mean it won’t ever come but not in the near future.

  1. Awesome :) now If only there’s a way to get more than just the espn games that’d be awesome! Even so – It’s a welcome addon to our streaming setup :)

  2. So mad I cant view this as I dont have a valid ISP. I have no choice. I pay for Xbox live. I feel aggrieved that ESPN wouldnt waive the need for a valid ISP when you pay for Xbox Live. And the cost of Xbox live is rising. Very Very Angry.

    1. You could also be angry at your ISP. It’s your ISP that hasn’t paid for its users to have access to ESPN 3. If you have a big company providing service give them a call and find out why they don’t.

      As far as Xbox Live goes, it is getting more and more expensive. $60 a year isn’t too bad, though. That’s $5 a month – think about how much you use the service in a month.

  3. It’s pretty cool. REALLY good picture quality as well. Equivalent 720p at it’s best, but not as clear as the streaming Netflix. Way better than the espn3 service I’ve used on my PC.

  4. After reading this I watched the Blackpool/West Brom match. Watching a match in HD beats the heck out of standard definition. Maybe I will fork over the $5 more a month for HD channels now that I have the TV for it. It was like actually being there it was so clear. Very cool feature, and hopefully I can join in on a conversation sometime and pick up some knowledge.

  5. if you’re a Time Warner Cable customer, you’re going to have to wait. I read a press release stating that TWC and ESPN3 are hoping it up and ready on XboxLive by the end of the year. But that’s not official.

    I was very excited then very disappointed when I did the updates. Was really hoping to stream some German football. Oh well. At least TWC has given us ESPN3 for the PC.

    1. I just realized this. We finally, Brighthouse (TWC), got access to and I was hoping I could use my xbox to watch live game. Hopefully you’re right and by the end of the year we will be able to watch on Xbox live.

  6. While the favorite sports or leagues tab is nothing revolutionary, it is a welcome addition to let users access all the available games for a given sport or league upon launching the application.

  7. This is awesome! ESPN3 carries LaLiga games too, so now I do not get stuck having to watch Barcelona on the computer. They will have Euro 2012 games too so I am spoiled now. Picture quality is great too.

    I still do not understand why picture quality via Xbox to television looks so much better than monitor via computer. ESPN3 sends HD signal through the internet, yet the difference in quality between television and computer is so different. Is it a different type of signal? I have a good computer with nice graphics card and other services like iTunes and Netflix look great on computer, so why wouldnt ESPN3’s games look just as good. No matter, got it through xbox now :)

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