SBD/August 19, 2013/Media

Ready For Kickoff: ESPN's New NFL Nation Will Have Dedicated Writer For Every Team

ESPN will launch its long-rumored NFL team content network on Aug. 28. The new NFL Nation will contain reports for every team in the league, and represents a marked expansion from its prior, five-year-old, division-based blog network. However, NFL Nation reports will not be restricted to blog items and will appear across every ESPN platform. ESPN has transferred 11 of its writers from those blogs and its city-based sites to NFL Nation, and will supplement that with 21 new hires. Newly-added reporters include John Keim, formerly of the Washington Examiner, and Phil Sheridan, formerly of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Editor-in-Chief Patrick Stiegman said, "When you take localized content like this that also resonates nationally, that's a sweet spot for readers. The appetite for NFL content remains insatiable, and this is our push to serve that demand" (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).

MEGA WATT: In Houston, David Barron reports Texans DE J.J. Watt is in a new "MNF" promo for ESPN's season-opening doubleheader, which includes Texans-Chargers. Watt is shown "about to pick up a fumble" and says to himself, "It's Monday night. I'm about to get that ball, and the whole world is going to see it: Ken, the guy I used to deliver pizza to. Ken Norton Jr. Ken Griffey Jr. Definitely Kenny Loggins." Loggins at that point is shown on camera "singing a parody of his song 'Footloose.'" The spot was created by Wieden + Kennedy and will air during the weeks leading up to the game along with similar ads featuring Falcons WR Roddy White and Bears WR Brandon Marshall. ESPN "had to obtain permission from Griffey and Norton to use their names." The "key to making the storyline work was catching up with Loggins, who agreed to film his contribution during a day off from touring" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/19).
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