"SportsCenter" Brand Moves To Another Arena

by , Oct 19, 2012, 12:47 PM
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ESPN’s efforts to give its “SportsCenter” brand a higher-profile, multi-platform role have moved to another playing field. Rooted in Twitter’s DNA, a digital SportsCenter Feed – tabbed SC Feed -- offers a constantly updated vertical stream of links to stories, blogs, audio content and videos, which can be customized in multiple ways.

Samsung is backing a beta version of the attempt to make ESPN's mass of online content more easily accessible. Banners for the tech giant’s Galaxy S3 device appear adjacent to, and integrated within, the SC Feed.

SC Feed is available online and via a mobile Web site. Plans call for an app later this year. The design is unflashy and utilitarian.

The Feed is an outgrowth of ESPN’s API platform, which also played a role in launching a new ScoreCenter app over the summer. The platform gives outside developers -- companies and individuals in Silicon Valley garages and elsewhere -- a chance to help develop new opportunities for ESPN.

On Friday at one point, 15 links appeared on the SC Feed in one 30-minute period covering various topics. A click expands a story or other content in a window to the right. A Samsung banner is slotted inside the feed as well as at the bottom of the page. The beta version is promoted via a link on top of headlines on ESPN.com.

Videos include pre-roll ads. Samsung doesn't own that inventory, where spots for the likes of UPS and Home Depot use ESPN talent. (Desmond Howard looks to be a coveted endorser.)

A post on an ESPN Developer Center blog says the Feed "takes advantage of social cues from Facebook and Twitter and ESPN data to help determine the popularity and relevancy of each piece of content. Consequently, fans are presented with content that is breaking, popular and relevant.”

The blog notes that “APIs are for Nerds (Nerds who build freaking awesome sports stuff).”    

Does that include breakthrough ad platforms?

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