- Worldwide, new ESPN football brand is fastest-growing online
- Launch of TransferCenter – new real-time transfer news and information service
- ESPNFC Editorial Network expands; new Windows 8 app; innovative solutions for brands
As the European and global football season gathers pace, ESPNFC, the multi-platform global football initiative from ESPN, is unveiling a package of enhancements as it continues to grow audiences and connect brands with fans. Available online, via the mobile web, smart phone apps, and, on TV via football debate and discussion show PressPass, ESPNFC brings together all of ESPN’s global football coverage under a dedicated multimedia brand.
Arne Rees, vice president, ESPN digital media international, said: “ESPNFC is increasing the number of fans and brands who connect with our football coverage worldwide. ESPNFC is one of ESPN’s most significant global commitments to the sport of football and leverages the core strength of what ESPN does well – serve sports fans.”
Worldwide, through the first three months of this season (15 August thru 15 November), ESPNFC has significantly increased ESPN’s connection to football fans and is the fastest growing of the top five football-specific services online, posting 25% growth in online unique users year-on-year in the August – October period. Worldwide, across all digital devices and platforms, ESPNFC’s total visits in the period are 13% higher year-on-year, to more than 210 million. Football fans worldwide are also spending more time with football content via ESPNFC than ever: across all devices and platforms, fans spend almost 1.8 billion minutes on ESPNFC during the first three months of this season. Online and on mobile, ESPNFC’s worldwide average daily unique users are up by 25% (to nearly 1 million) and 16% (nearly 430,000) respectively against the same period last season. Via ESPNFC’s smart phone apps, worldwide, more than 23 million page views have been logged, with fans spending more than 24 million minutes accessing these apps. Additionally, fans have accessed more than 12 million videos across all digital devices and platforms.
ESPNFC has significantly increased the sports media company’s connection to football fans. Across all devices and platforms in the UK, ESPNFC is proving to be deeply engaging: UK-based fans spent 113 million total minutes accessing ESPNFC across all devices and platforms in the period, up 81% year-on-year. Average daily unique users online to ESPNFC are up by almost one-third (32%) while total page views for ESPNFC via the mobile web are up 72% to nearly 20.6 million in the period. The UK is one of the largest markets for ESPNFC applications, registering nearly 2 million pages views so far this season. UK accounts for nearly the same amount of page views as APAC combined.
As football heads towards the winter transfer window, ESPNFC is today launching TransferCenter, a responsively-built digital destination that will provide fans a real-time catalogue and multi-media connection to the stories, rumours, updates and player transfer news in leagues worldwide during the run-up to, and throughout, the winter transfer window. With industry leading design and development, TransferCenter is built to automatically optimise for users across whatever device they are on – computer, tablet or mobile – and combines the best insight, news and updates from ESPN’s news and editorial teams worldwide into a single real-time feed. The app displays content chronologically in feed-style layout in which all forms of content can be immediately consumed and shared across social platforms. The service will evolve to feature news, video, social media integration and player statistics.
As players complete transfers, ESPNFC will also team with Electronic Arts’ EA SPORTS to produce images and simulations of that player in their new club kit, based on EA SPORTS popular FIFA ’13 game engine and graphics. Additionally, ESPNFC PressPass, the football debate and discussion TV show, will provide exclusive reaction and analysis video from its stable of analysts and experts throughout the winter transfer season.
ESPNFC is expanding its availability with the launch of a new free multi-device, multi-screen Windows 8 app which provides a football fans a new design and user experience optimised for the new operating system and the variety of devices which will feature it. Available worldwide now through the Windows Store, the ESPNFC app is optimised for multiple devices, including touch screen tablets and laptops, and desktop PCs. The app utilises the Windows 8 live tiles, which provide users with dynamically updated content, and offers ESPN’s Gamecast function, providing access to the live digital experience with commentary, in-game stats, graphical visualisation, match reports and more.
ESPNFC Editorial Network
ESPNFC is organizing 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. The ESPNFC blogger network includes a roster of its own blogs and contributors, and in the coming weeks will include an expanding affiliated blog network – pulling together some of the top independent voices in the football blogosphere.
Over the coming weeks, ESPNFC will launch a half a dozen new blogs, with new offerings around continental European clubs such as Roma, the MLS in the US, as well as subject-specific blogs — for example around the Road to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. These join existing topical blogs such as La Liga, the Boot Room (live matchday blogging), fantasy football, Tactics and Analysis and more.
ESPNFC also features a growing network of correspondents who cover the latest news and stories from key football regions around the globe, including UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, Australia, Latin America and the regional hot-beds of football such as Manchester and London.
Online and on mobile, ESPNFC continues to expand its offering of video highlights and reviews of the key leagues and competitions around the world. In the months since launch ESPNFC has in certain territories globally, launched video around leagues including the UEFA Europa League, Clydesdale Bank Premier League, the FA Cup, France’s Ligue 1, Germany’s Bundesliga and will continue to add more video.
Connecting fans and brands
Online and on mobile, ESPNFC has the ability to detect where a fan is accessing content, and deliver locally relevant coverage, currently delivered in English, Spanish and Portuguese. In the future, the site will continue to evolve across global regions, providing more localised English-language versions and versions in additional languages as well.
ESPNFC is providing 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. Examples include:
- In the UK this season, ESPNFC has worked with brands including Jack Wolfskin, EA Games, O2, Viagogo, Activision, RBS and PlayStation.
- In the US, ESPNFC launched The Boot Room in collaboration with EA, incorporating TV, digital, and social media. Fans are able to interact with ESPN’s football presenters and commentators during its coverage of the Barclays Premier League in the US, with the opportunity to ask questions and engage in social conversation around matches.
- In India, ESPNFC has collaborated on solutions for brands including Apollo Munich, Nokia and LG, and men’s grooming brand Gillette is on board in the sub-continent as a sponsor for the entire Barclays Premier League season.
- In Australia ESPNFC has worked with brands including Sportingbet and Nokia
Notes to editors
Data compares audiences for ESPNFC between 15 August 2012 and 15 November 2012 versus audiences for ESPN’s previous football properties over the same period in 2011.