ESPN is extending its TV tendrils deeper into digital: The Disney-owned sports programmer announced plans for a condensed daily digital version of its flagship “SportsCenter” show, along with other new initiatives to reach younger-skewing audiences online.
At its inaugural Digital Content NewFronts event in New York, ESPN outlined three more original shows coming to Twitter, which comes under Disney’s broad-based ad and content pact with Twitter announced earlier this week.
And it teased the upcoming debut of “Always Late With Katie Nolan,” hosted by the ESPN host and personality who joined the network last fall from Fox Sports.
ESPN last fall debuted a platform-specific adaptation of “SportsCenter” for Snapchat — centered on rapid-fire, personality-driven segments that are 3-5 minutes long — and it’s prepping the launch of “SportsCenterLive” for Twitter, designed to package and fan out breaking-news video.
Now it’s finally doing a mobile-friendly, bite-size spin of “SportsCenter” for its own app.
The daily edition of “SportsCenter” will be coming to the ESPN App, available free to watch. The videos in the app will be featured on users’ home screen every morning, when they open the app. The cut-down “SportsCenter” digital episodes, featuring Scott Van Pelt and other “SC” anchors, will curate the key stories and moments in sports, including the top plays and news they missed the night before and what’s on deck for the day ahead, highlighting an array of content from across ESPN.
The weekly late-night “Always Late With Katie Nolan” will feature Nolan’s “sharp, irreverent and authentic voice,” per ESPN. In the show, she’ll cover and comment on not just the world of sports but also pop-culture and beyond. “Always Late” will also include produced segments and interviews with athletes, celebrities and other newsmakers.
Nolan also is one of the hosts for ESPN’s short-form “SportsCenter” for Snapchat. Prior to joining ESPN in October, she hosted FS1’s “Garbage Time with Katie Nolan.”
Two of ESPN’s new shows for Twitter were announced Monday, as part of Twitter’s NewFronts session: “SportsCenter Live,” featuring talent from the TV program and other reporters, to deliver breaking news coverage in Twitter Moments and on the new @SCLive account; and “Fantasy Focus Live,” a live-stream of the daily podcast hosted by Matthew Berry, Field Yates, Stephania Bell and Daniel Dopp.
In addition, ESPN is developing three other new Twitter shows:
- “Hoop Streams”: Slated to launch for the NBA Playoffs, the show will feature basketball analysts David Jacoby and Ryen Russillo, who will preview each playoff, conference final and NBA Finals game prior to tip-off. The duo will incorporate real-time tweets from fans as they discuss the upcoming matchups.
- “The College Football Show”: ESPN’s new weekly show will recap the best highlights of the day and preview the biggest game of the week on every college football Saturday throughout the upcoming 2018 season. And yes, fans will be able to interact with the show’s hosts through Twitter.
- “Rankings Reactions”: Mike Golic Jr. and Jason Fitz will return for the college football season, discussing the latest rankings and mixing it up with tweets from viewers. The show will debut when the first polls are revealed on Oct. 30, 2018, and will continue through the College Football Playoff Selection Committee’s Selection Day on Dec. 8.
Under the Disney-Twitter pact, other Disney divisions — including ABC, Disney Channel and Freeform, Disney Digital Network, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Radio Disney and Marvel — are also planning to create live programming.