I just checked, and it looks like my ISP is finally supported (Roadrunner via Time Warner), but they require "you must receive ESPN as part of your television service" which is a new requirement (as far as I can tell) beyond just having a supported ISP. I do have ESPN, but my television service is through DirecTV, so I don't qualify. With such an absurd range of requirements for qualification, I imagine it would be difficult to do a channel without charging a fee just to avoid the authentication overhead of the current web access.
Are you sure you are referring to ESPN3? Time Warner now has a deal with ESPN to broadcast ESPN through broadband but this is a separate feature than ESPN3. I forget exactly what they call that new service on ESPN but the ESPN3 availability is based only on the ISP afaik.
Yep. The full text from ESPN3.com is:
Attention Time Warner Cable Customers
In order to watch ESPN3.com, you must receive ESPN as part of your television service. Please select Time Warner Cable from the list below and you'll be taken to Time Warner Cable’s web site to verify your account. The ESPN3.com video player will open automatically when you're done.
: Funny.. I just went through the hassle of setting up a Time Warner account so I could authenticate with ESPN3 to see if I had access by some off chance. Once I did, as expected, I got a message stating that my subscription wasn't sufficient to get ESPN3. I then closed the browser, re-opened it on espn3.com, and it logged me straight in with full access... If you don't tell, I won't tell...