Looking to generate subscribers for its “NFL Sunday Ticket,” DirecTV is serving as the exclusive sponsor of the new Sports On Earth site for its first
month. The deal includes display ads throughout the site and a presence on the front of the USA Today sports section.
Sports On Earth, with a slew of sportswriting luminaries, is co-owned by MLB Advanced Media and the USA Today Sports Media Group.
Since Sports On Earth’s launch Aug. 27, a USA Today ad for the site has run several times with a “powered by DirecTV” tag.
Steve Madden, the general manager of the site, said the average time visited with the longer-form articles has been 7.5 minutes. Over time, he said ad opportunities could include video and in podcasts with the Sports On Earth writers.
One of the site’s top writers, Joe Posnanski, is about to resume his “Poscast,” which he began during his time at Sports Illustrated.
Madden said a “comparison to Grantland is inevitable,” referring to the ESPN site fronted by Bill Simmons that also goes with longer-form journalism. The difference, he said, is that Sports On Earth won’t touch on the pop-culture aspects of the ESPN site, which had Klondike and Subway as launch sponsors last year.
Sports On Earth has no dedicated sales force, with units from MLB Advanced Media and USA Today sports contributing.