ESPN text alertsThis isn't, strictly speaking, just an Android issue. But enough of you Android peeps have pinged us over ESPN's text alert service no longer working on Sprint's network that we'll make an exception. It seems you're getting a text message that declares:

Alerts Unavailable
Dear Sprint / Boost / Nextel / Virgin Mobile subscribers,
ESPN Alerts are no longer available from your carrier. We apologize for the
inconvenience, however, our service is available across most other US
Carriers.

And that sucks. Because ESPN's also announcing this on its text alert sign-up page, We're willing to bet it's a money thing (when is it not?) and that it has nothing to do with your using an Android phone. (Which makes you a pretty awesome person.) And unfortunately it means Boost, Virgin and Nextel are caught in the crossfire. Let's hope they get this worked out soonest. But in the meantime, you could give a full-fleged ESPN app a shot. [ESPN] Thanks to everyone who sent this in.

Update: And just like that, we get a tip about what's really going on. Here 'tis:

It's not a "money thing" in the traditional sense. They didn't give us a real clear picture of what's going on, but ESPN offers these messages free of charge to ESPN.com members, and Sprint is going to start charging their customers for each individual text message, regardless of having an unlimited messaging package. ESPN really isn't going to put up with it being "free," yet not free.

 
There are 39 comments

mustangboy88 says:

You realize there is more resources than just the forums to contact Androidcentral.com. I myself tweeted them when I got the text, and I am sure many others did as well. Let's give credit where credit is due, and that is to the many that contacted Androidcentral.com. Quit trying to be a hero Zoolander.

silverfang77 says:

Text alerts not working? There's an app for that. ;-)

imex99 says:

whats best sports news alert app, i want notifications and dont have to open app first to get news: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1022532

TheBrizz says:

Gotta love it when companies fight over money and the only losers are the customers who actually pay their bills.

Animus_3.0 says:

Always gotta be money. CBS Sports, here I come.

silverfang77 says:

Wait a minute... If a person has unlimited texting, how can they still be charged per message? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of unlimited texting?

TyBec says:

Also, who has an android phone without a data plan?

JCool525 says:

I need my espn text alerts! Cmon sprint... or ESPN, whoever is at fault.

JCool525 says:

I need my espn text alerts! Cmon sprint... or ESPN, whoever is at fault.

muskrat2k1 says:

"Sprint is going to start charging their customers for each individual text message, regardless of having an unlimited messaging package."

WTF!?!? I too was thrown when I got the text from ESPN, but that bit seems like a bigger story if it's true. Surely it can't be true, can it?

johnny99 says:

Can you just send the messages to your free Google Voice number instead of your Sprint messaging plan?

imex99 says:

Just tried, setup new account and sent verification text to phone and haven't received the message from ESPN yet....

jmbburg says:

Just set-up the ScoreCenter app and you've got no problems. Still weird though.

spam says:

The ESPN ScoreCenter app doesn't have any notification functions, so it's certainly no replacement for the text alerts.

briankurtz79 says:

Scorecenter app is garbage. Just another ios app that works poorly on android cause no body gives a shit about us apparently. No notification. Ios has push with the sportcenter jingle! We get squat!!!!!

Icarus4219 says:

In other news, newspapers are doing poorly. Honestly, I didn't even know text alerts were still a thing. I thoughts apps and email had taken over.

imex99 says:

For me, receiving my ESPN breaking news texts alerts is better than opening an app and getting the news later than the breaking text.... Very simple and faster!

spectator52 says:

+1

bigga85 says:

That just killed me!

spectator52 says:

hi i'm dan hesse ceo of sprint. the other day i looked up the word "unlimited" in the dictionary. unfortunately espn alerts were not defined in that term so screw you, you crappy customers who still want to stay with us

levelbest says:

"and Sprint is going to start charging their customers for each individual text message, regardless of having an unlimited messaging package."

Would you care to offer some PROOF on that? Sounds pretty fishy to me.

mustangboy88 says:

Just found this article over on the Sprint Forums and it basically shows what happened today.

http://telescope.tv/current/36-current/157-march-2011nsbpnsbpnsbpnsbptel...

This was already going to happen, but obviously none of us knew. This is not the only service that it going to be affected. This is all on Sprint's end. They basically want and have raised the price on the companies that send out texts through their databases. The update above is not exactly right and really should be rephrased. They are not charging "us", but rather, charging the companies that send out the mass texts to subscribers of that paricular service.

T-Mobile tried the same thing last September. And VZW tried it in 2008 with a .03% increase for content related text services.
http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/legal-privacy/7447.html
This is something that is happening across all the carriers. I think it is just getting blown up because ESPN is a big name to throw out and really affects the masses.

I am like many above. I like getting my texts, instead of refreshing apps to get the scores. Not to mention that ESPN did a pretty good job getting the scores out pretty quickly. I installed the scorecenter app and hopefully it will fill the void.

Sprint speaks

In response to inquiries on the topic, Emmy Anderson, Minneapolis-based spokeswoman for Sprint, gave the following statement:

Sprint is partnering with many industry-leading companies to form the core of Sprint’s Solution Enabler Program.

These solution-enablers have direct access to Sprint’s APIs that are exposed through the new Sprint Services Framework.

Solution-enablers will also provide many of their own value-added services to help a customer deliver an optimized solution that meets their needs.

As the first wave of APIs, Sprint is exposing services such as LBS, SMS, MMS, geofence and presence as part of the Sprint Services Framework.

Many services will be provided for free such as presence, while some services will require Sprint to charge solution-enablers, aggregators and developers a fee to recoup our costs of delivering these services.

****Sprint is not increasing the messaging or data fees consumers pay.****

Specific to SMS, Sprint will charge a per-message fee to aggregators and solution-enablers for SMS programs.

This charge is a cost-recovery measure designed to allow Sprint to continue to support the billions of SMS messages that are sent each year as part of mobile marketing campaigns, alerts, et cetera.

Freegoo says:

So it IS a money thing. And Sprint, I'm calling BS. The 15 cents a message or $20 / month should be more than enough to support the sending of SMS messages. We're talking about a minuscule amount of data.

mustangboy88 says:

In all fairness of a business operation. This is no different than how credit and debit operations work with Visa. The business pays a very small percentage in return for the convenience of the consumer being able to swipe plastic. This is basically the same concept. Sprint is letting other businesses use their network to promote there content SMS. It sucks, but it is not a new idea. Its just that data is more prevelant now than in 2008 when Verizon tried it. And no one should be just bashing Sprint on this. As you can see in the links posted above it has been tried twice before.

dchawk81 says:

Exactly. I accept credit cards and pay the fees as a cost of doing business. I get more customers because of the convenience, which enriches me beyond the relatively low cost of accepting plastic.

crichton007 says:

Exactly, this is like trying to make money on both ends of a transaction whereas the benefit of not charging ESPN is because by providing ESPN I get more customers.

The longer I wait the less I am tempted to switch to Sprint.

mike340t says:

Thank you for providing more depth to the article!!!! Hey Phil, I think this greatly written background story should be attached to the above article somehow so that people actually understand what is REALLY going on as many will just blame Sprint and could care less about the truth.

dchawk81 says:

Good for Sprint. If ESPN wants to use their system they need to pay for it. After all, we do!

If they don't want to pay, they need to find a workaround...like adding alerts to their app.

Does anyone else find it odd that espn drops this little bomb on us sprint users less than 12 hours before news broke of sprint beginning the beta testing of the google integration... I hope there is not a hidden agenda here for sprint...

Mobius360 says:

Anyone else find the humor with the fact Sprint / ESPN teamed up to give us a Sprint ID pack but they can't work this out with each other.

mustangboy88 says:

I find it more ironic that Facebook and Twitter don't get the same charges. As a matter of fact I don't think they pay anything.

lcg12 says:

Sprint enforced a per message fee for all shortcode (5 or 6 digit text codes) messages starting April 1st. Before, It was free a channel to use for text marketing (EX: text alerts, text to win, text vote programs). It is not a phone issue or a text data plan issue, it is a shortcode issue. They want to charge the aggregators and content providers who use shortcodes a per message fee to use their networks. It is not a small fee when you are sendout millions of messages a month, like ESPN does. Sprint users will see that they have less and less access to this marketing platform as most company's will not want to pay for the crazy fees when they can access Verizon and AT&T subscriber base with no messaging fee. It was a poor decision on Sprints part and is going to create very poor user experience.

mustangboy88 says:

The thing is, you're writig as if Sprint is the only company to do this. TMO and VZW already tried this, and VZW had the highest attempt per text. This is happen across the carriers. The fact that Sprint pulled it off first is the problem. Because if the 3rd largest carrier can do it, then you know its just a matter of time before the two largest subscribing carriers will try this again.

lcg12 says:

Sprint enforced a per message fee for all shortcode (5 or 6 digit text codes) messages starting April 1st. Before, It was free a channel to use for text marketing (EX: text alerts, text to win, text vote programs). It is not a phone issue or a text data plan issue, it is a shortcode issue. They want to charge the aggregators and content providers who use shortcodes a per message fee to use their networks. It is not a small fee when you are sendout millions of messages a month, like ESPN does. Sprint users will see that they have less and less access to this marketing platform as most company's will not want to pay for the crazy fees when they can access Verizon and AT&T subscriber base with no messaging fee. It was a poor decision on Sprints part and is going to create very poor user experience.

xeroslash says:

On a related (?) note, ESPN's ScoreCenter app is no longer keeping users' (myself included) favorites saved. Teams AND Sports are not able to be added at the moment. First the texts and now this...

Coincidence???

nappy314 says:

Sounds like there are some sprint reps on this blog supporting this and defending Sprint!!

This is shi!!y for Sprint to do any way you look at it. We already play for unlimited txt and a useless 4G fee ($10) that most customers don't get access to. They make more than enough on over-priced phones and service has continued to decline.

Sprint will lose customers because of greed and shows that they don't care about customers who have been loyal. End of story.

Add weather.com to the list. Got my text this afternoon.

bdhu2001 says:

Add MSNBC.com to the list.