Digital "SportsCenter" Being Added To ESPN+; Nolan Show Teased
ESPN on the heels of the introduction of ESPN+ announced that it is "rolling out a daily, digital version of its 'SportsCenter' flagship on the newly-revamped ESPN app," according to Anthony Crupi of AD AGE. The new show will be hosted by Scott Van Pelt and a "rotating cast of other ESPN anchors." Speaking yesterday to media buyers and advertisers at ESPN's first NewFront presentation, Van Pelt said that viewers who "fall asleep to his midnight TV show and wake up to the new digital program might feel like they're in a marriage with him." Crupi noted Van Pelt's "freewheeling interpretation of 'SportsCenter' is ranked among ESPN's highest-rated studio telecasts." In a bid to "drive viewers to the all-digital 'SportsCenter,' the show will be featured prominently on the home screen whenever the user opens the ESPN app." Yesterday's announcement was made "just days after Twitter unveiled a new live content-and-advertising agreement with ESPN, a pact that includes" the forthcoming shows "SportsCenter Live" and "Fantasy Focus Live" (ADAGE.com, 5/2). VARIETY's Todd Spangler noted ESPN yesterday "teased the upcoming debut of 'Always Late With Katie Nolan.'" The weekly late-night show will "feature Nolan's 'sharp, irreverent and authentic voice.'" In the show, Nolan will "cover and comment on not just the world of sports but also pop-culture and beyond." It will include "produced segments and interviews with athletes, celebrities and other newsmakers" (VARIETY.com, 5/2).
MULTIPLE NEW OFFERINGS: BROADCASTING & CABLE's Jon Lafayette noted the Twitter version of "SportsCenter" was announced Monday at the company's NewFront presentation and will "appear live on the platform." "Fantasy Focus Live" will also be "live streamed daily on Twitter." Each morning, fantasy experts Matthew Berry, Field Yates, Stephania Bell and Daniel Dopp will "provide player previews, injury reports, game overviews and strategies, as well as featured guests and interviews, throughout the football season." The show will "take fan questions and opinions, and engage the Twitter audience using key football moments and social content." Another addition is "Hoop Streams," an NBA Playoffs show "featuring David Jacoby and Ryen Russillo." The show will "provide a preview of each playoff, conference final and NBA Finals game." The new weekly "The College Football Show" will "deliver a recap of the best highlights of the day and a preview of the biggest game of the week on every college football Saturday throughout the season." Additionally, Mike Golic Jr. and Jason Fitz this upcoming college football season will feature in the return of "Rankings Reactions" (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 5/2).
STAYING THE COURSE: ESPN in the NewFront said that it "didn't need to trumpet any radical new direction." The event "merely served to drive home the ubiquity of ESPN and its vast reach across social media." ESPN "ditched the playbook of its broadcast upfront (which is less than two weeks away), which often features a parade of athletes and top-name talent onstage." Instead, the "featured stars were executives from Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook, and the VIP was the network's newly redesigned app." ESPN Senior VP/Social Content Ryan Spoon said that in one week last month, ESPN "racked up 2 billion impressions across social media." Spoon: "That is scale. ... Our distribution strategy is straightforward. We're fan-first, we're always live, and we're audience everywhere." Meanwhile, Senior VP/Original Content, Newsgathering & Digital Media Rob King "offered a detailed tour of the new app." He said that personalization is the "main theme" (DEADLINE.com, 5/2).
NO HOLDING BACK: CABLEFAX DAILY notes Hulu yesterday "came out swinging against traditional TV" at its upfront presentation, "always a bit weird given its ownership between Disney, 21st Century Fox, Comcast and Time Warner." Hulu "revealed that it has surpassed" 20 million U.S. subscribers, with "ad-supported subscriptions up" 40% year-over-year. Among those who were a part of Hulu's upfront presentation was NHL Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist, who "talked up Hulu's expansion into live sports" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 5/3).