ESPN Local Plan Will Challenge Media Incumbents

Established sources of local sports information, such as local TV and newspapers will be challenged by ESPN’s local plan, which has performed successfully in a Chicago pilot:

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Other local editions are rolling out in the near term, to NY, LA and Dallas. According to the NY Times’ piece:

ESPN Chicago does not seem to have cut into The Tribune’s online sports audience as much as it has slowed its growth, according to a review of the traffic data.

At The Los Angeles Times, which is about to face ESPN head-on, the associate editor, Randy Harvey, said: “It would be foolish to underestimate ESPN, but it comes down to resources. I don’t see them being able to replicate what we do.”

Once ESPN establishes itself in local markets, it plans to move deeper into local sports — down to the high school level and perhaps beyond — by using social networking and other technology to inform its journalism.

Just as CNN offers news from everyday people through its iReport service, ESPN could augment its local coverage by tapping sports fans. Picture fathers uploading scores from their daughters’ soccer games.

Depending on how far they take it this will also provide ESPN.com with a local ad network (beyond IP targeting).

One Response to “ESPN Local Plan Will Challenge Media Incumbents”

  1. David Mihm Says:

    It’ll be interesting to see how many legitimate Local sportswriters ESPN is able to recruit into this service. Personally I think a big corporate mentality is going to be a tough sell on smaller markets (by smaller, I’m thinking Portland-sized)…but might work in one as large as Chicago.

    At least here in Portland, we have a VERY solid network of independent bloggers and sportswriters. Will ESPN insist they subsume their content under the ESPN brand or allow them to publish independently…that’s the key to buy-in from both fans and journalists IMHO…

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