Look out, newspapers: Disney’s (DIS) ESPN is launching more local sports sites. The next few: New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas, the NYT reports.
This after ESPN’s Chicago site became the city’s top sports site in less than three months, the NYT says. According to comScore, ESPN Chicago attracted about 590,000 unique visitors in June; the Tribune’s attracted 455,000. (Though not like ESPN was coming from nowhere in Chicago: It had a huge head start with a popular sports radio station, AM 1000.)
As long as traffic and ad sales stay firm, the strategy makes sense for ESPN, which can leverage a ton of content, partnerships, technology, multimedia, and stats from its national organisation into local micro-sites.
The challenge will be competing with local personalities, who have long-term followings in newspapers and on radio and TV. (Though as more papers bust, could be an opportunity for ESPN to hire the most popular as contributors.)
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