Jim Beam Bourbon is partnering with ESPN on "The Next Round -- Served Up By Jim Beam," a Web series that will also have exposure on ESPN's "SportsCenter" television broadcasts, other ESPN media and at retail.
The series will be hosted by ESPN personality/sports journalist Scoop Jackson. Each episode will feature Jackson and guests, including actors, athletes, media personalities and comedians discussing the latest developments in sports and other timely topics.
"The Next Round" will launch on April 3 during the first commercial break of the 11 p.m. (EDT) "Sports Center" broadcast, as well as on ESPN.com. On ESPN.com, the series will have its own custom page housing show clips, shoot summaries, video podcasts, photos and links and functioning as the hub for fan social media interaction. Thereafter, new series content will air every two weeks on ESPN.com, and portions of the show will continue to air during commercial breaks on the show's 11 p.m. edition.
Segments will be recorded in Los Angeles at a custom-built ESPN/Jim Beam studio and at six remote locations that will include cities hosting major sporting events throughout the year. The Web series premiere will be shot at a bar in Boston to coincide with baseball's opening day on April 4. Additional shoot locations have not yet been announced.
In addition, audio segments from the series will air once per month on ESPN Radio, and the show will receive editorial and ad exposure in six print issues of ESPN The Magazine.
To drive viewership of the Web series, Jim Beam and ESPN are implementing a nationwide retail program with co-branded point-of-sale materials keyed to targeted seasonal sports themes, reports Kelly Doss, senior director, Bourbons, Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc.
Social media will also play an important role, with ESPN taking the lead in providing content to drive interaction within those channels, she says.
While Beam will continue some select, sport-specific sponsorships/ marketing (such as its hospitality suite at Yankee Stadium), the integrated ESPN program -- the brand's most far-reaching to date -- will be its primary national focus.
"We've shifted from sports-specific to going with the leader in covering sports," Doss tells Marketing Daily. "Sports are such an important passion point for our consumer, and this provides us with a vertically integrated program spanning not just media, but also point-of-sale. We view this as the perfect partnership between the #1 sports media player and the #1 Bourbon."