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This morning at the Minskoff Theatre in Times Square in New York City, ESPN is holding their 2018 Upfront presentation. Below is a look at the announcements and highlights of the upcoming programming:

Basketball: A Love Story

  • Coming this October from ESPN Films.
  • A mosaic of 60+ short stories featuring some of the sport’s biggest stars.
  • Epic project explores the complex nature of love for the game as it relates to the NBA, the Olympics, college basketball, foreign interest in the game, and women’s experience. “Basketball: A Love Story” also looks through the lens of the game’s history to examine issues of race, politics, media, art, business, style, language and more.
  • More details and full announcement to come.

The Last Dance featuring Michael Jordan

  • Premiering on ESPN and Netflix in 2019.
  • Multi-part, 10-hour documentary series from ESPN Films and Netflix, produced by Mandalay Sports Media in association with NBA Entertainment and Jump.DC.
  • Chronicles one of the greatest icons and most successful dynasties in sports history, Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls.
  • Anthology will be directed by Jason Hehir (“The Fab Five,” “The ’85 Bears,” “Andre the Giant”) and examines the simultaneous rise of Jordan and the NBA during those years.
  • More than 500 hours of never-before-seen footage from the team’s last championship run in the 1997-98 season.
  • Full participation of Jordan and other key figures from the Bulls’ championship teams, as well as dozens of other luminaries from basketball and beyond.

ESPN Virtual SolutionsCenter

  • ESPN introducing new, virtual studio that will allow for unique sponsor integrations and increased flexibility.
  • Sponsors will have the ability to be integrated into several virtual situations, including:
  • V-Stats – a virtual environment where talent can deliver unique statistics and/or statistical visualizations provided by ESPN’s award-winning Stats & Info Group.
  • Virtual Environment – will allow for talent to be integrated into any variety of settings, including directly into the action of a movie or video game. They might also be accompanied by a virtual vehicle or product, allowing for maximum flexibility.
  • Live Portal – will allow talent to be in studio but appear at any of ESPN’s remote locations during any number of live events.

Pivot with Alex Rodriguez

  • Four-part special series to air on ESPN and ESPN Deportesduring MLB regular season.
  • World Series Champion Rodriguez to serve as executive producer and host.
  • Each episode will feature in-depth one-on-one interviews with current and former star athletes who are navigating through obstacles in their lives and careers.

Louis Riddick Signs Multi-Year Extension

  • As part of an expanded role, Riddick will travel to the site of ESPN’s weekly Monday Night Footballgame and appear on MNF halftime and postgame shows alongside host Suzy Kolber and Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young.

Former NFL Head Coach John Fox Joins ESPN

  • Fox, who makes his on-air debut today and tomorrow, will make year-round appearances on NFL Live,SportsCenter, ESPN Radio shows, and more.

“HIGH NOON (9 am Pacific)”

  • Live one-hour show hosted by Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre debuts Monday, June 4, on ESPN.
  • Episodes will air on weekdays at 12 noon ET / 9 a.m. PT.

ESPN and FC Bayern Munich Sign Content Sharing Agreement

  • Content sharing agreement between ESPN and FC Bayern Munich.
  • Grants ESPN the rights to use and share FC Bayern Munich video content in English and Spanish across its media platforms in U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • A first-of-its-kind deal between ESPN and a team.
  • FC Bayern Munich is a dominant global brand in soccer with an avid fan-base in and outside Germany.

Ad Effectiveness in Out-of-Home Sports Viewing

  • Ads in out-of-home viewing are nearly as effective as in-home viewing for sports programming. According to Phoenix Brand Effect, in collaboration with Nielsen (Sept 2017-Feb 2018), compared to in-home viewers:
  • Ad Memorability – OOH viewers were 91% as likely to recall the content of an ad 24 hours after natural exposure.
  • Brand Linkage – Of those that recalled the content, OOH viewers were 97% as likely to recall the brand.
  • Message Linkage – Of those that could recall the content and the brand, OOH viewers were 96% as likely to recall the message.
  • In fact, some OOH locations indexed even greater than that of in-home viewing, including in-transit/on-the-go and at gym/fitness centers.
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