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ESPN Local Online Initiative Celebrates Two-Year Anniversary

ESPN today hit the two-year anniversary of its local online initiative, and the company said its current roster of five ESPN Local sites combine for 8.7 million unique visitors, more than double the group's combined audience in early '10. ESPNNewYork.com, the newest of the five, generates the largest amount of user traffic in the group with an average of 4.6 million unique visitors per month, according to comScore. An additional 1.4 million visits per month arrive through mobile devices, ESPN said.

Advertising on the ESPN Local sites has also shifted in the past year, as a split of 60% national advertising to 40% local buys in the network a year ago has now become one with nearly 80% local buys and roughly 20% national ones. "Perhaps more than anything else, we've been really encouraged and pleased by the strong response from the local marketplace," said Jim Pastor, ESPN Senior VP and ESPN Local GM.

Pastor also expressed a growing open-mindedness toward creating additional ESPN Local sites after many months of company execs not showing any interest in growing beyond the current five. "We're exploring different options under the idea of expansion, and I'm hopeful we'll be able to announce something there at some point," he said. "We wouldn't be doing our jobs if we weren't looking out for additional opportunities."
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