Fans of action sports such as surfing, skateboarding, motocross, and snowboarding, your time has come. ESPN will unveil a new digital strategy today that’s aimed at you, not the middle-age male sports fan.
ESPN will launch in the fall the ESPN Action Sports Network, which will encompass a bunch of Internet sites dedicated to a specific “action sport.” The action sports network will offer coverage of events that are not carried on mainstream television, the Los Angeles Times reports.
“We felt like we were under-delivering on a year-round basis,” Dave Finger, director of action sports for ESPN Digital Media, told the LAT. “We felt like we were missing out on covering action sports with the same voice and authority that we bring to stick and ball.”
ESPN was the first mainstream media outlet to embrace “anti-establishment” athletes and their fans with the creation of the Extreme Games in 1995, which later became the X Games. The X Games, however, are held only twice-yearly, while the non-team, non-traditional sports included in the X Games are often “played” year-round.
ESPN’s extreme sports Web site, EXPN.com, will now become a part of the ESPN Action Sports Network.
It’s a great move by ESPN. Television will continue to be dominated by the big four sports — football, baseball, basketball, and hockey — and time slots are limited for other sports like skateboarding, snowboarding, and motocross.
Online, however, ESPN can cater to every sport with exclusive video and in-depth content with no time or space limitations. ESPN will expand original digital programming like “Guerilla Cam”, which takes fans behind the scenes at events, and the also will invite fans to upload and share their own videos in an attempt to build community around each sport.