Tradition v. Content

A great and current example of an organization relying more on content than traditional brand advertising is ESPN’s Sports Center.  In the beginning of show, the novelty of having a full 30 to 60 minutes of news devoted to sports coverage was definitely a novelty.  As the novelty of Sports Center wore off and the idea of permanence became more established, Sports Center was very much driven by key personalities such as Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick and Stewart Scott.  Additionally, game highlights, and statistics could definitely be seen as SC’s bread and butter.

Fast forward to the future, ESPN subscribership is noticeably down and revamping of Sports Center is occurring.  One striking addition is the increase in storytelling, from special features produced by Tom Rinaldi to non-athletes guests interviewed on set about their favorite sports moment or analyzing film, ESPN saw the need to change its content from the traditional, sports information to in demand special features.

Social media has made athletes much more accessible now than they have been in the past.  Additionally, stats are provided by ESPN and other outlets, almost instantaneously through app alerts, social media and websites.  No longer are people tuning into Sports Center to get an update on what happened in sports that day, which can be easily summoned on a smart phone via twitter.  ESPN had to figure out how to satisfy a new fan who wants to know something about an athlete that 140 characters can’t capture and the fan who appreciate the stats but wants help with analyzing their usefulness.

Sports Center can transition from segment to segment intertwining game highlights, special interest stories and fantasy stats breakdown and trade suggestions to satisfy the appetite of a variety of sports fans.  Although having content can be vital to an organizations survival, only the right type of content used in an effective way is going to achieve goals and move a company forward.


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