21.07.2009 Local Marketing, Newspaper, Press and Media, Television 2 Comments

Impact of ESPN Local

Over the weekend, the New York Times revealed that ESPN is continuing its push into local markets. On Monday, ESPN announced new sites for New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, which will join its test site for Chicago.

Marketing Pilgrim is calling this yet another nail in the coffin of newspapers, and saying it may impact local television stations as well.

Perhaps.

While ESPN certainly has a wide reach, can it truly provide the staff needed to cover a city, except in the biggest cities? I’m not so sure.

Certainly this is bad news for the Chicago Tribune, which is already on the edge, but I doubt the impact elsewhere will be that substantial, except for a handful of top markets.

It’s not clear that ESPN knows how to sell to the advertisers that would want to place on these sites. ESPN is used to working with national agencies and advertisers, not local businesses. ESPN’s current sales staff is unlikely to want to work such smaller deals, which come with smaller commissions. Will they hire a new sales department to work with such advertisers?

Or will they offer a self-serve model like Google AdWords? This is a large reason why Google succeeded with smaller advertisers.

This is certainly an interesting move by ESPN, but I think it’s too early to call it the end of local media and press.

Written by Brian Combs on July 21st, 2009 at 11:37 am.

2 Responses to “Impact of ESPN Local”

  1. anonynmous says:

    ESPN is already the 800lb gorilla in the sports arena…why is it trying to take jobs away from the local city papers which are already struggling? Most local sports writers grew up in their market and bleed the blood of their teams! Is ESPN just going to shop “sports experts” in to take over? Local sports fans should show their same team loyalty to the local papers/writers who’ve been with them every step of the way!!!!

  2. Brian Combs says:

    Interesting question. I wonder if ESPN will try to hire some of the local talent away from the papers and television stations. Some of those guys (and gals) have been covering their local sports for decades, and have access that others can only dream about.

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