New Network of Sites to Replace EXPN.com; Dedicated to 24/7/365 Coverage of Action Sports Landscape, Lifestyle
Signaling ESPN's dedication to complete, daily coverage of action sports, ESPN is re-branding its online home for action sports. The site will become ESPN Action Sports this fall as part of a new multimedia initiative that will also mark the launch of the ESPN Action Sports Networka group of interconnected sites, including sport-specific vertical sites from ESPN (ex: ESPN Skate) and other premiere action sports destinations such as Surfline.com, Vans.com, Active Ride Shop and more. The new network of sites, with ESPN Action Sports as its central hub, will create multiple drop in points for action sports participants and enthusiasts, with the mission of developing the best, deepest, most useful network of action sports content and community anywhere.
"ESPN Action Sports signifies an ongoing focus to bringing ESPN.com's standard of excellence and comprehensive coverage to the action sports arena," said Dave Finger, director, action sports, ESPN Digital Media. "We have been building towards this vision for more than a yearpiece by pieceand this marks a new starting point for the next stage in the evolution of what our digital media assets will deliver to athletes and enthusiasts around the globe."
Added Rick Alessandri, senior vice president and managing director, X Games franchise, "Action sports are defined by progressionby constant change and advancement. With this new multiplatform initiative, ESPN will advance its action sports presence to a new level. Combined with the importance of X Games as the pre-eminent action sports competitions, our commitment to action sports will be stronger than ever."
ESPN Action Sports and its network of sites will expand upon the progress EXPN.com had already made in creating a 24/7/365 home for action sport news, lifestyle and event coverage across digital media. In the 12 months since beginning its increased focus on content, ESPN has already seen strong results in traffic to action sports content, with unique computers up 37% and page views up 21% when comparing 2008 year-to-date with the same period last year.
To continue that growth, ESPN Action Sports sites will place a premium on top-quality, authentic, daily coverage of the entire action sports landscape. This dedication to leading content will take many forms, including:
· Original Video: ESPN Action Sports will continue to develop original digital programs. Already it has launched shows including "Guerilla Cam," "Whisper Tricks" and "Truth to Me;"
1 Action Sports Film Footage: ESPN Action Sports will deliver exclusives or first looks at premiere action sports films and footage. One upcoming example: The site will feature exclusive Webisodes and first looks at snowboarder/producer Travis Rice's highly anticipated film "That's It, That's All". ESPN Action Sports will also Webcast the film in its entirety on the day of its release.
2 User-Generated Video: This fall, ESPN Action Sports will give fans the means to upload and share their own original action sports videos – showcasing their shred to the world.
3 Exclusive Third Party Video: ESPN will collaborate with sponsors and action sports teams to deliver video of their riders in action, and a look at what happens in between sessions.
4 ESPN Action Sports Video Hubs: ESPN Action Sports' online video library, including sport-specific video hubs that house all relevant video for a specific sport or discipline. http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/video/expn
5 Video Podcasts: ESPN Action Sports video podcast began last September and has grown from an average of 10,000 downloads per month to an average of nearly 100,000 downloads per month via ESPN Podcenter and iTunes.
· Community: The ESPN Action Sports Network sites will integrate and build upon the fast-growing ESPN.com community platform that includes Fan Profiles, user-generated video, photos and blogs, user groups and ESPN Conversations. Between April 16th and July 16th ESPN has seen a 147% increase in activated Fan Profiles, and millions of fans are engaging in ESPN Conversations across ESPN.com.
1 Web 2.0 Tools: ESPN Action Sports sites will continue to add to an array of social media and content portability tools such as RSS syndication, widgets, podcasts, embeddable video players and more.
· ESPN Action Sports Blog Brigade: ESPN Action Sports' network of bloggers bring their authentic, industry-insider perspective to their specific sport of expertise. Examples include: "eSpen eXtreme" by action sports columnist and Winter X Games competitor John Symms; "The Brap Haps" (Motocross) by pro rider and writer Ryan Leyba; "Wretched Wetsuit" by surfer and established journalist Jon Coen.
1 User Blogs: Via ESPN's Fan Profiles, fans will be able to create and maintain their own action sports blogs.
· Signature ESPN Mobile Platforms: Action Sports content will become more completely integrated with ESPN's signature mobile platforms, ESPN MVP on Verizon Wireless and ESPN Mobile TV.
1 Mobile Web: ESPN Action Sports will extend its presence to ESPN's industry-leading mobile Web site.
· Music: Music is a central part of the action sports lifestyle. ESPN Action Sports will bring original music, exclusive songs, and song debuts from bands big and small putting that music to video of athletes performing, or debuting music on podcasts.
1 Podcasts: The ESPN Action sports podcast is downloaded tens of thousands of times a month via iTunes and ESPN's Podcenter.
· ZOOM Galleries: ESPN Action Sports will continue to advance how action sports photography is utilized online. ZOOM galleries showcase hi-resolution, large format photography, paired with captions or audio in dynamic slide shows.
· X Games Coverage: The ESPN Action Sports network will remain the premiere destination for coverage of all things X Games, with dedicated, comprehensive sections to X Games events around the world.
1 Feature Writing: ESPN Action Sports will continue to build on its expanded focus on top-quality feature writing, delivering industry-leading action sports features.
2 Rider Profiles: Personalities drive action sports, and ESPN Action Sports will deliver profiles on all the top athletes that fans follow including original photography and video with each rider.
3 Online Video Games: ESPN Action Sports and ESPN Arcade, will collaborate on action sports-themed online video games.
In addition the ESPN Action Sports Network, the initiative will see a number of other additions to ESPN's dedication to complete coverage of the action sports world, including:
* NETWORK MEMBER SITES: ESPN has struck deals with Surfline.com and Vans.com to be part of the ESPN Action Sports network, and has also reached an agreement with Active – one of the largest retailers of action sports lifestyle products and apparel from top brands like Billabong, Vans, Burton, Nike, Hurley and many more – to launch an online shop selling apparel and gear (live now at http://shop.expn.com ). ESPN will pursue other similar deals with premiere action sports destinations, brands and content creators. ESPN Action Sports Network sites will share and cross-promote compelling content and drive traffic between the sites of the Network.
* TELEVISION: This fall, ESPNEWS will debut the ESPN Action Sports Report, a weekly five-minute -minute report covering the latest developments on the sports landscape, in the industry and with the action sports lifestyle - reported by ESPN Action Sports and ESPN The Magazine writers and editors.
* MULTI-LINGUAL: ESPN Action Sports sites will also expand in time to deliver extensive content in Spanish, Portuguese and potentially others languages as well.
* PRINT: ESPN Action Sports will continue to collaborate extensively with ESPN The Magazine and ESPN Deportes magazine.
Contact: Paul Melvin, ESPN 860.766.9581 or Paul.Melvin@espn.com
Katie Moses Swope, ESPN 310-642-1507 or Katie.MosesSwope@espn.com