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Guidelines >HTML5 Guidelines

html5 guidelines

Please review the guidelines below for trafficking, building, or providing HTML5 creative assets for advertisements on and its properties. Failure to adhere to the guidelines may cause your creative to be rejected. Any adjustments or exceptions to these guidelines will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may require special pricing. Please contact your account manager for further information, questions, and to request exceptions. For information regarding specific ad formats available on ESPN, please click here.

General Guidelines

Guidelines listed in this section apply to both first-party and third-party served HTML5 creative.

  • Files must be received a minimum of 5 days in advance for testing and QA.
  • High-resolution assets are accepted. Sizing must be accounted for in the HTML5 code and any high-resolution detection must be done within the code.
  • HTML5 creative must be accompanied by a backup image/experience for non-compatible browsers and devices.
  • Any file weight restrictions for specific ad formats applies to all HTML5 assets including images, HTML/JavaScript/CSS files, custom fonts, or any other assets used by the creative.
  • All hyperlinks must open in a new window or tab.
  • The <body> element must not have any padding or margin applied.
  • HTML5 creative served via an approved third-party vendor must use iframe tags.

In-House (ESPN) Served HTML5 Creative Guidelines

HTML5 creative may be site-served if the following requirements are met:

  • A single click-through URL/redirect.
  • No in-unit video.
  • No additional interactive features aside from the click-through (no photo galleries, mouse-over interactions, etc).
  • Assets must be submitted as .zip folders containing all applicable files; one .zip folder per creative.
  • File references in the HTML must use relative file paths.
  • HTML5 creative must be "plug and play"—assets must be delivered in a state in which the main HTML file can be opened and function correctly. HTML5 creative which is not in a functioning state will be rejected.

All HTML5 creative will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis for first-party serving at the discretion of ESPN. Any creative that exceeds these requirements must be served via an approved third-party vendor.

These rules do not apply to the Video Showcase, which is a custom-built first-party execution. HTML5 Pushdown creative may only be third-party served.

HTML5 Creative Specifications

In the below charts are the ad serving details associated to each format. This information is broken out by HTML5 compatibility, first and third-party serving compatibility for HTML5, and file size restrictions. Click the name of the execution to the left to view more detailed specifications regarding that specific placement.

Standard Ad Units HTML5 1st-Party 3rd-Party File Size Restrictions
Banner Yes Yes Yes XL 1280x100: 200KB
L 970x66: 150KB
M 728x90: 150KB
S 320x50: 50KB
InContent Yes Yes Yes XL / L / S 300x250: 200KB
Premium Ad Units HTML5 1st-Party 3rd-Party File Size Restrictions
Billboard Yes Yes Yes L 970x250: 250KB
Overlay No XL / L 924x545: 200KB
M 728x425: 150KB
S 320x356: 100KB
Pushdown Yes No Yes XL 1280x100 / 1280x418: 500KB
L 970x66 / 970x250: 400KB
M 728x90 / 728x250: 300KB
S 320x50 / 320x250: 150KB

*File Size is for all expand/collapse
panels combined.
Sponsored Module No XL / L / M / S 298x50: 40KB
Video Showcase Yes Yes No XL 1280x100 / 1280x544: 600KB
L 970x66 / 970x418: 400KB
M 728x90 / 728x250: 300KB
S 320x50 / 320x320: 150KB

*File Size is for all expand/collapse
panels combined.
Wallpaper No XL 1680x690: 150KB
L 1280x455: 100KB


  • Total animation time may not exceed 20 seconds.
  • No more than three loops of animation are allowed within the 20s limit.


  • In-unit video is accepted. File types must include .mp4 video at minimum though .webm and .ogg/.ogv formats are also supported.
  • Video files must include "Play", "Pause", and "Mute" functions at minimum using native HTML5 controls.
  • Audio must be user-initiated only on click.
  • Videos in Medium (M) and Small (S) screen profiles cannot autoplay.
  • Playback on iOS devices will always occur in the device's native player.
  • Creative with embedded video must be served via an approved third-party vendor.

DoubleClick Studio Requirements

HTML5-based creative site-served via DoubleClick Studio must meet these requirements:

  • Files must be tested in Studio prior to delivery. Any non-functioning or incomplete creative will not be accepted and must be resubmitted once it has been revised.
  • Files must contain all relevant Enabler code.
  • All files must be included in the package and cannot be placed into subfolders.

ESPN Mobile Applications That Support HTML5 Creative