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SBD/Issue 238/Sports Media
ESPN Planning To Launch Boston Web Site On September 14
Published August 28, 2009
ESPN will launch ESPNBoston.com on September 14, its second locally oriented version of ESPN.com to begin following a successful debut in Chicago in April, and previously announced plans to begin similar online destinations for Dallas, New York and Los Angeles over the next 10 months. The Boston version, morphing out of sites for ESPN Radio’s 890 AM station, will feature news coverage devoted to the local pro, college and high school teams, contributions from ESPN writers with Boston ties such as Peter Gammons, Bill Simmons and Michael Smith, locally oriented community tools and a localized, three-to-six minute version of SportsCenter, among other content. ESPN.com Editor Peter Lawrence-Riddell has been named Managing Editor of ESPNBoston.com, and Boston Globe NFL writer Mike Reiss will cover the Patriots for the site. The launch is timed for the '09 debut of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” which will feature Bills-Patriots.
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SHIPPING UP TO BOSTON: In Boston, Chad Finn cites sources as saying that ESPNBoston is "pursuing other Globe writers" in addition to Reiss. WEEI and Boston Herald sources indicated that they are "unaware of ESPNBoston pursuing any of their staffers." Finn writes Reiss is a "shrewd initial hire, an indication that ESPN has done its homework on what has succeeded in the Boston marketplace." A source at a competing Boston sports media outlet said, "If they come up with a creative way to spin Simmons's and Gammons's traffic as part of their site here, their numbers are going to be insane." Meanwhile, Finn notes there will be "yet another player on the local media scene soon," when CSN New England launches a site that "intends to compete with Boston.com, WEEI.com, and ESPNBoston, among others, in covering local teams" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/28).
TWITTER REAX: Reiss said, "Boston Globe is a great place with great people. I have a few more weeks on the job, and I'm planning on sprinting toward the finish line.” ESPN's Bill Simmons clarified, "I'm not writing new material for 'em. If I write a Boston-related column, it'll just run there as well.” Meanwhile, SI's Richard Deitsch writes the launch is "compelling for many reasons, including the no. of ex-Globe employees at ESPN and Bristol's proximity to Boston." The Boston Globe's Finn, in response to Deitsch, writes, “No kidding. They have inside info on who they should pursue. And they hit a home run with Reiss.” The N.Y. Times' Pete Thamel: "Interesting how this ESPN experiment is building."