How ESPN blazes the trail for what’s next in sports media

Sports are everywhere. Media is truly everywhere, now with these incredible mini mobile computers at our side 24/7. And, for 35 years, ESPN has been one of the leaders in sports media and, in many ways, has moved the industry forward, keeping up with the pace of technology of the evolving sports fan.

So what is ESPN doing now that sports marketers can learn from?

The self-proclaimed “Worldwide Leader” has not shied away from the fact that more content is being consumed on mobile; they’re embracing it. One of the most astounding stats to come out of this recent analysis of ESPN’s digital outlook by The Atlantic is that ESPN’s suite of mobile apps sends out 600 million alerts every week. That is 600 million times a message from an ESPN app pops up on a fan’s device screen, delivering news or prompting them to watch or see something in the app.

By delivering an excellent mobile fan experience, ESPN is not cannibalizing its biggest revenue stream, cable TV subscriptions, but instead increasing the reach and fan affinity for its brand. ESPN sends out billions of alerts every year, but could push out billions more. Its focus on learning from their mobile users to personalize the experience is key. Further, the network’s dedication to serving content tailored for the mobile user has been the reason for ESPN’s mobile success.

And sports teams and leagues and media entities are following suit. The best part of sports is that it is now on the minds of fans nearly 24/7 and they can’t get enough content. The worst part of sports is that it is on the minds of fans nearly 24/7 and they can’t get enough.

What that paradox means is that just as we’re starting to get the hang of this website and Internet stuff and even getting savvy with social media, the paradigm shifted. All of a sudden the canvas changed from one the size of a small television to one that fits in our pockets. We’re not quite back to square one, but it necessitates an intentional change in how content is designed, produced, and delivered.

ESPN, led by its president John Skipper touting their brand’s “Best available device” mantra, have turned mobile from an adequate placeholder to an impressive moneymaker. We’re still in the early days, but as more and more content (and sponsor and ad dollars) go to mobile, teams and media will get the hang of mobile, too. Cords are a thing of the past.

So where may technology in sport go next? Get your mobile strategy set, personalize your app alerts, and listen for that “duh-nuh-nuh-nuh, duh-nuh-nuh-nuh” music, to see what may lie ahead.

Want to learn about how we help our clients continually connect with fans through personalized, location-savvy mobile app push alerts? Request a personalized demo today!

Hopscotch is a leader in mobile-platform technology.