ESPN, Inc. today announces the full launch of its multi-platform, multi-language and multi-country global football brand, ESPNFC. Initially launched as a preview in April for Euro 2012, ESPNFC today officially debuts ahead of the start of the Barclays Premier League, covering all major leagues and competitions worldwide for the first time, and, expanding to TV and mobile in.
Arne Rees, vice president of international digital media for ESPN International: “ESPN is making a big statement with today’s launch of ESPNFC. We are committed to the global game with a global, cross-media brand to cover it 24/7. ESPNFC aims to serve fans by being the leading destination for definitive football coverage worldwide and year-round whenever and wherever fans want it.”
From today, ESPNFC makes its full debut online and on mobile and appears on TV for the first time. ESPNFC succeeds ESPNsoccernet as the sports media company’s global football brand, bringing together all of ESPN’s global football coverage and housing them under a single multimedia brand.
On mobile, a new ESPNFC app launches giving fans access to its content wherever they are, available on Apple, Windows Phone and Android handsets. Key features of the new ESPNFC application include personalisation, allowing football fans to personalise the app by their favourite leagues, teams and tournaments, and, exclusive video and audio from ESPN’s various studio-based discussion and analysis shows.
On TV, its global multi-platform football debate and discussion show ESPNsoccernet PressPass becomes ESPNFC PressPass. The football discussion show that looks, daily, at the global game with a global perspective, the show features panellists and contributors from around the world of football – including Shaka Hislop, Robbie Mustoe, Steve Nicol, Frank LeBoeuf and Jorge Ramos. Reflecting the cross-platform nature of ESPNFC, both TV and digital content will be heavily integrated to highlight major club news and analysis across all screens. Furthermore, the editorial agenda of both the TV show and web companion content will be closely aligned. Also tonight, the show makes its debut on ESPN television in the US. Previously available online in the US, the show will be available six days a week (weekdays plus Sundays) on ESPNews. Press Pass first debuted in September 2002 on ESPN International’s English-speaking networks. It can now be seen in over 107 countries and territories around the world.
ESPNFC will also provide new and unique, customizable digital opportunities for marketers who can work with ESPN to reach football fans on both a global and regional scale using ESPN’s worldwide sales teams. Online and on mobile, ESPNFC will have the ability to detect where a fan is accessing content, and deliver locally relevant coverage for that region. At launch, ESPNFC will launch in English and Spanish and will evolve over time to serve multiple languages.
ESPNFC will organize a developing worldwide network of writers, bloggers and analysts covering the latest news and developments 24/7, regardless of where they happen in the world. Each Barclays Premier League club and each of mainland Europe’s leading club sides, plus clubs elsewhere, will in time have a specific blogger on ESPNFC, connecting ESPNFC readers with the latest views and insights from their club. ESPNFC is also developing a network of correspondents who will cover the latest news and stories from key football regions, initially including Spain, Italy and the regional hot-beds of football such as Manchester and London. Furthermore, fans can access a line-up of new big-name writers across multiple-platforms. They include:
• Glenn Hoddle – former England national team manager, Hoddle will be contributor online and on mobile
• Kevin Keegan – will contribute a column online and on mobile. The former Newcastle United, Fulham, Manchester City and England manager won a host of honours playing for the likes of Liverpool and Hamburg
• Steve Nicol – Existing contributor on TV for PressPass, the former Liverpool player, Scotland international and New England Revolution manager, will additionally contribute regularly to ESPNFC online and on mobile
• Gabriele Marcotti – Renowned international football journalist and expert on Italian, Spanish and English football, based in London, will write several times a week for ESPNFC and appear regularly on Press Pass.
• Roger Bennett – a columnist for ESPNFC and host of Grantland, ESPN’s wide-ranging sports-scene site, Bennett will be covering the international game, with a focus on the Barclays Premier League.
Comprehensive multimedia coverage from ESPNFC includes on-demand video highlights, studio programming clips, news, analysis and commentary, digital audio and podcasts, real-time scores, stats and more. With particular emphasis on the live game experience, a Live MatchHQ service features data-driven content, including real-time scores and stats, highlights, message boards and more, all in a single unified interface. ESPNFC will also be integrated into ESPNdeportes.com — which serves the Spanish-speaking community in the US, as well as Spanish-speaking Latin America — and across football content on many of ESPN’s global TV, radio and print platforms.
During EURO 2012, ESPNFC generated significant traffic online and on mobile platforms. ESPNFC.com and ESPNsoccernet.com logged an average of 919,000 unique visitors and 12.7 million minutes per day during the tournament, up 35 percent and 205 percent respectively compared to EURO 2008. Additionally, ESPNFC, ESPNsoccernet and ESPNdeportes mobile Web sites as well as the ESPNsoccernet app for iPhone and Android generated 33.6 million total page views, up 494 percent.