updated 10:42 pm EDT, Wed May 28, 2014
World Cup will be first live-streamed sporting event
Apple is in the process of creating a dedicated ESPN station for iTunes Radio, its ad-supported free streaming service. The new channel will carry both original ESPN audio programs and will offer some live sports streaming, including this year's World Cup broadcast -- the first time a sporting event will be live-streamed through iTunes Radio. As reported in March, a number of local NPR affiliates will also be joining the iTunes Radio lineup.
The ESPN station is said to be including existing terrestrial ESPN radio content such as Mike & Mike, The Herd and SportsCenter All Night. Some 42 local NPR stations, including notable outlets such as KQED out of San Francisco and WAMU in Washington DC.
More NPR stations will come on board as each one determines, according to reports, but over time most if not all NPR outlets are expected to join Apple's streaming service, which has already become the third most-popular streaming radio service in the US, behind Pandora and ClearChannel's IHeartRadio. A recent poll found that iTunes Radio was within a percentage point of moving into second place -- perhaps prompting more aggressive efforts and differentiating features from the second-place service, which simply offers live streaming of hundreds of US talk and music radio stations.