Neel, Jackson, Kamenetzky’s, Markazi, McMenamin, Saxon, Shelburne Join Local Destination for LA Sports Fans; Daily ESPNLosAngeles SportsCenter, ESPN Radio 710 AM Audio; StubHub, Nike Signed as Launch Advertisers
ESPNLosAngeles.com, the newest of ESPN’s growing network of local sites, has launched as the newest destination for Los Angeles sports news and information. The site features exclusive, original content, content from local contributors, and original locally-relevant content created from ESPN’s multiple platforms, branded programming and award-winning contributors.
“Today marks a starting point, not a culmination. ESPNLosAngeles.com will grow and evolve over the coming months and years, based on what the fans of greater Los Angeles sports tell us they want,” said Jim Pastor, senior vice president and general manager, ESPN Local. “We began this ESPN Local initiative just nine months ago in Chicago, thinking that there was more that we could be doing to serve the passions of local sports fans in a multimedia way. We’ve carefully assembled a team of authentic L.A. voices whose experiences make them the ideal choice for serving L.A. sports fans and their teams.”
The site launches under the day-to-day editorial leadership of new managing editor Eric Neel, an 8-year veteran of ESPN and ESPN The Magazine, and previously one of the founding editors of the late-90’s sports site Sports Jones (acquired by ESPN.com in 2001). Neel is an award-winning writer and reporter who has covered the Los Angeles sports scene since 2001, including the Dodgers, Angels, Lakers and Clippers. Neel also has been a regular contributor to ESPN’s Rome Is Burning.
The site has also hired local L.A. voices including
- Tony Jackson (Dodgers) – Jackson joins ESPNLosAngeles.com to cover the LA Dodgers. Formerly of the Los Angeles Daily News, Jackson has covered baseball since 1995, and covered the Dodgers since 2004 – at one point running up a streak of 488 consecutive regular season games covered without missing one;
- Andy and Brian Kamenetzky (Lakers) – the “Brothers Kamenetzky” join ESPNLosAngeles.com to bring readers their distinctive style and coverage of the Lakers. They have covered the Lakers previously for the Los Angeles Times since 2005 and have been contributors to ESPN The Magazine and ESPN Radio 710AM in Los Angeles;
- Arash Markazi (General Sports writer and columnist) – Markazi, a long-time Southern California sports journalist and graduate of USC, has covered everything from high school sports to the NBA and MLB to the intersection of sports and entertainment. Markazi has written previously for the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Associated Press and, most recently, Sports Illustrated. He will be a general sports columnist and writer, covering multiple sports – including basketball, baseball, college football, action sports and more, as well as the intersection of sports and pop culture;
- Dave McMenamin (Lakers and Clippers) – Dave McMenamin joins ESPNLosAngeles.com to cover the Lakers and Clippers, after covering the NBA as a writer and features editor and producer at NBA.com since 2005;
- Mark Saxon (USC, Angels) – Saxon, an award-winning reporter and writer joins ESPNLosAngeles.com to cover the Angels and USC football and basketball. Previously he covered the Angels and college sports for the Orange County Register since 2003 and was a journalist at the Oakland Tribune for eight years, where he covered baseball and college sports. He also previously contributed to Sports Illustrated and SI for Kids;
- Ramona Shelburne (General Sports writer and columnist) – a former sports writer and columnist for the Torrance Daily Breeze, The Santa Barbara News Press and the Los Angeles Daily News Shelburne joins ESPNLosangeles.com as a General Sports writer, reporter and columnist, covering a wide array of subjects across the Southern California sports landscape;
ESPNLosAngeles.com is also still in the process of hiring additional reporters and writers to bring their voices and daily coverage of area teams and sports to fans via words, video and audio content.
The site also features local content on the homepage from KABC-TV and via a content syndication agreement with The Huffington Post Los Angeles, featuring news and opinion, traffic and more.
Additionally, ESPNLosAngeles.com features contributions from veteran ESPN reporters and writers connected closely to Los Angeles, who will provide original content on Los Angeles sports topics. Regular contributors include:
- J.A. Adande (NBA) – Adande joined ESPN.com as a columnist in August 2007 after 10 years at the Los Angeles Times. He is seen frequently on ESPN’s Around The Horn, Pardon The Interruption, SportsCenter and other ESPN programs. Adande will contribute coverage and commentary on the Lakers and Clippers.
- John Ireland (Lakers) – co-host of ESPN Radio 710AM’s ESPN’s Mason & Ireland Show, Trojan Talk with Pete Carroll and USC Gameday. Ireland is a UCLA graduate and has been hosting a daily sports radio show in Southern California since 1994. He has been serving as a Lakers TV and sideline reporter for 15 years.
- Steve Mason – Mason, Ireland’s co-host on ESPN Radio 710AM, is an accomplished and versatile broadcaster with extensive experience on both television and radio. He has been a contributor to E! Entertainment Television, Fox News, TV Guide Channel, Reelz and ESPN among others. He has reported, anchored and called play-by-play from the 2006, 2004, 2002, 2000 and 1998 Olympics for numerous broadcasters, including Westwood One, ESPN and NBC.
- Shelley Smith – Smith joined ESPN in January 1997 after working part-time as a reporter for the network since 1993. She has covered Super Bowls, the NBA Finals, the BCS championship game, the Stanley Cup playoffs, golf and tennis championships and more.
The site will also be the exclusive home of ESPNLosAngeles SportsCenter, hosted by SC anchors and produced originally each day from the ESPN production center at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. The video series will provide fans a 3-6 minute roundup of the city and region’s sports news, teams, highlights, figures and stories each day.
The site also builds on the two and a half-year success of ESPN’s owned and operated radio station’s (ESPN Radio 710 AM) dynamic Web presence. The site offers a clean design and navigation, and a combination of breaking news, blogs, video, audio, analysis and features. The Web home for ESPN Radio 710 AM will be a section on ESPNLosAngeles.com.
The site will cover all of the greater-Los Angeles area major professional sports teams, collegiate sports programs and, in time, extend to regional high school coverage, a core passion for Southern California sports fans.
The new site also features:
- A custom Los Angeles video hub, offering a library for the latest highlights, news, analysis and original content from ESPN programs including exclusive, original Los Angeles content from the teams at ESPN programs including Baseball Tonight, NFL Live, College Football Live and more.
- An integrated video and audio experience, featuring a dynamic 16×9 video player on the front page and index pages, and one-click access to the ESPN Radio SuperStream audio player with live ESPN 710AM audio and access to ESPN’s catalog of podcasts and on-demand audio.
- Contributions from the Kamenetzky brothers and Markazi among others will produce content around the world of Action Sports. Additional news, photos, X Games info, surfing coverage and video will be provided by ESPN.com/Action.
- An ESPNLosAngeles.com mobile Web extension will launch within the week at http://espn.mobi/la, bringing the news, features, scoreboards, and more to fans on their mobile devices.
- Photo galleries featuring images from Los Angeles area events.
The launch of ESPNLosAngeles.com coincides with the ESPN and ABC Christmas Day NBA double-header, featuring the matchup between Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and the defending-Champion Lakers taking on LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
At launch, ESPNLosAngeles.com includes multiple charter advertisers, including StubHub and Nike.
ESPNBoston.com, ESPNChicago.com, ESPN Dallas.com
ESPN Local sites in Boston, Chicago and Dallas have already become leading destinations for fans of local sports. In October, more than 2.3 million fans visited one of the three sites, spending more than 10.4 million minutes on the sites, according to comScore.
ESPNChicago.com — ESPN’s first local site (launched in April) — has already established itself as the top sports site for Chicago fans and among the most popular news and information destinations for Chicago residents. In October it attracted 1.15 million unique visitors, a record month for the site. Fans spent more than 2.9 million minutes on the site. Similar to ESPNLosAngeles.com, ESPNChicago.com struck content syndication agreements with The Huffington Post Chicago and with ABC-owned TV station WLS to deliver easy access to Chicago news, traffic and weather.
ESPNBoston.com launched on September 14, and nearly 1 million unique visitors, up 42 percent over September, who logged more than 3.6 million total minutes. ESPNBoston.com also recently hired award-winning journalist Gordon Edes, a longtime veteran of the Boston sports scene. Edes will cover the Boston Red Sox throughout the year, delivering news, analysis, columns, a regularly updated blog and will contribute video and audio coverage on ESPNBoston.com and across ESPN platforms. Edes was most recently at Yahoo! Sports where he covered Major League Baseball since August 2008. A Massachusetts native, Edes has spent nearly a quarter century covering baseball, including nearly 12 years at the Boston Globe as a baseball columnist and Red Sox beat writer. He has also covered baseball for the National Sports Daily, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. Edes joins a roster of writers, reporters and analysts on ESPNBoston.com that includes Mike Reiss, Tedy Bruschi, Chris Forsberg and Matt Kalman, as well as ESPN contributors Howard Bryant, Pedro Gomez and more.
ESPNDallas.com, launched on September 28, attracted nearly 900,000 unique visitors in its first full month (October), with fans logging 3.9 million minutes, making the average time spent per visitor the highest of all of ESPN’s local sites.