×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

ESPN Hopes to Spike Digital Rivals With New Ad Effort

ESPN’s newest game is convincing advertisers to spend more of their dollars on its programs.

The Walt Disney sports-media juggernaut on Monday launches a very targeted ad campaign aimed at getting the word out about its advertising offering. Many ads will position ESPN as a safer environment than that provided by newer digital outlets. “When it comes time to measure up / We rely on third-party validation,” reads one. “Transparency and accountability / Demand it / We do,” reads another.

“We want to be clear about what we can do to drive performance for our clients,” said Cindy Freed, vice president of sales communications at ESPN, in an interview.

ESPN makes its pitch as the digital-media sector starts a series of “NewFront” pitches to Madison Avenue and as the TV industry’s annual “upfront” marketplace looms, when TV networks bid to sell the bulk of their ad inventory for the coming season. Many of the networks will make the pitch that they are safer and more reliable than major digital outlets, which have suffered setbacks in recent months, including unsavory content on YouTube and measurement hiccups on Facebook

In some cases, ESPN will run outdoor signs on kiosks outside the New York headquarters of large media buyers such as Interpublic Group’s Magna; WPP’s GroupM; and Publicis Groupe’s Mediavest. The network will also run commercials on screens in the elevators of office building that house the ad-buying shops.

ESPN heads into the annual haggle under more scrutiny than is the norm. The company recently disclosed it will party ways with approximately 100 content staffers, citing a desire to focus more expressly on a reworked “SportsCenter lineup” and digital video associated with its personalities.

The ads, which will run through mid-June, will also appear in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, LinkedIn, Sports Business Journal, Advertising Age and Variety.

Some of the commercials will seek to prod viewers to a microsite, where they can get more information about what ESPN might do for clients.

More TV

  • Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner's Hazy

    Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner's Hazy Mills to Co-Produce SAG Awards

    Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner’s Hazy Mills Productions have joined the SAG Awards producing team. The guild announced this morning that Kathy Connell will once again serve as the show’s producer along with Hayes and Milliner in partnership with Avalon Harbor. “Attending the SAG Awards has always been a pleasure and a privilege for me,” [...]

  • Alia Shawkat

    Alia Shawkat Joins Jeff Bridges in FX Drama Pilot 'Old Man' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Alia Shawkat has been cast in the upcoming FX pilot “The Old Man,” Variety has learned exclusively. She joins previously announced lead Jeff Bridges as well as cast members John Lithgow and Amy Brenneman. Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Thomas Perry, the series centers on Dan Chase (Bridges), who absconded from [...]

  • TV Ratings: 'The Simpsons' Soars, 'Batwoman'

    TV Ratings: 'The Simpsons' Soars, 'Batwoman' Dips

    Helped by a sizable NFL lead-in, “The Simpsons” aired its annual “Treehouse of Horror” episode to excellent numbers on Fox. Homer, Marge and co. were provided the highest rated scripted show on Sunday night, scoring a 2.1 rating among adults 18-49 and around 5.7 million total viewers. The rest of Fox’s Sunday Animation Domination was [...]

  • The Boys Amazon Prime

    Nielsen Adds Amazon Prime Video to SVOD Measurement, With Limitations

    After two years of measuring Netflix viewing, Nielsen has now added Amazon Prime Video to the mix of subscription-streaming services it tracks — and with the same set of limitations. Nielsen’s SVOD Content Ratings originally launched in October 2017 with Netflix. According to the research firm, the addition of Amazon Prime Video measurement will let [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Fox, Charter Strike New Carriage Deal

    Fox Corporation and Charter Communications, Inc. on Monday said they struck a new “long term” carriage deal for Fox’s suite of TV networks, the latest in a recent series of agreements Fox has struck with various distributors. Financial terms were not disclosed. The pact covers distribution of Fox Television Stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business [...]

  • Mike Birbiglia Sets Third Netflix Stand-Up

    Mike Birbiglia Sets Third Netflix Stand-Up Special

    Mike Birbiglia has set a third stand-up special at Netflix. The comedian is bringing his Broadway show “Mike Birbiglia: The New One” to the streamer, with a special set to launch on Nov. 26, 2019. Filmed at the Cort Theatre in Manhattan, the show sees Birbiglia blend observational and confessional comedy as he struggles with [...]

  • ‘Marcella’ Producer Buccaneer Hires Richard Tulk-Hart

    ‘Marcella’ Producer Buccaneer Hires Richard Tulk-Hart as Co-CEO (EXCLUSIVE)

    Richard Tulk-Hart will join Tony Wood as co-CEO of Buccaneer Media, the U.K.-based producer of Netflix and ITV hit series “Marcella.” Tulk-Hart is joining Buccaneer from A+E Networks, where he is managing director for international, working across distribution, formats and co-productions. Prior to A+E, Tulk-Hart worked at Fremantle, IMG, and Miramax in senior roles. He [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content