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ESPN adding local sports to its app and website - is your team there yet?

If your favorite team's games are shown on a regional sports network, they'll soon be a lot easier to find.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer
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Artie Beaty/ZDNET

As the world of streaming grows more fragmented, ESPN is trying to make its offerings a little more comprehensive. Over the next several months, sports fans will start to see broadcasts from several regional sports networks (RSNs) right inside the ESPN app and ESPN website.

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Starting this week, subscribers to NESN, which covers Boston-area sports teams -- including the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, and Bruins  -- can access these teams' live games straight from the ESPN site or app. 

Next month, Monumental Sports Network -- which covers the Washington D.C.-area Capitals, Wizards, and Mystics -- will be added. SportsNet Pittsburgh, which hosts Penguins, Pirates, and WVU games, has been confirmed as well. Several other RSNs are likely on the way.

Over the past several years, many sports franchises have signed agreements for games to be broadcast on regional sports networks. These networks, which usually host multiple teams from a city or region, can be part of a cable package or standalone, but almost always require an additional subscription.

You'll still need to pay for a subscription to these specific networks to see games,as the actual streams will still be coming from those provider websites, and the content will still be available in RSN apps; but the partnership with ESPN makes finding them a lot easier. 

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And for these regional networks, that discoverability from fans is huge. If a game is easier to find and a link to it is in an app they already have, customers are more likely to subscribe. 

Of course, teams also want games to be more accessible to everyone, so this is a win-win. No charges are being added, it's simply easier for fans to find games. 

The company said these links will only be shown to people who live in the coverage areas for those networks, meaning you're not going to see the option to click on games to which you don't have access.

The move comes as ESPN announced last month that it's teaming up with Fox and Warner Bros. for a streaming service that covers nearly every major and minor sports league. With those three rivals now combined, fans will get MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAA football and basketball, NASCAR, PGA Tour, Grand Slam tennis, soccer and more under one app.

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