ESPN Embraces New Media

January 16th, 2007 |
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Sports and technology were on display at ESPN’s stage at CES 2007 in Las Vegas. In recent years, the self-proclaimed “Worldwide Leader in Sports” has implemented podcasts, blogs and interactive video on its popular website and in video games created by game developer EA Sports. PodTech’s Rio Pesino spoke with Cory Smith, ESPNradio.com product manager, and asked him about how new media has helped ESPN.com become more successful than ever.

Transcript:

Host: Rio Pesino – PodTech

Guest: Cory Smith – ESPNradio.com

Rio Pesino – PodTech

This is Rio Pesino for PodTech.net here at CES 2007. I’m here with Cory Smith with ESPNradio.com, right?

Cory Smith – ESPNradio.com

That’s right.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

Product Manager, correct?

Cory Smith – ESPNradio.com

That’s right.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

Cory welcome to the Podcast, thanks for joining us.

Cory Smith – ESPNradio.com

Thank you very much, thanks for having me.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

Cory, we are at CES in front of the ESPN booth. I didn’t even know ESPN had a booth here at CES 2007 passing by. What are you guys doing here?

Cory Smith – ESPNradio.com

We’re just kind of showcase with some of our new technologies and how we’re I implementing with the latest and greatest things that are out there. We have partnered with EA Sports for some our video games. We have ESPN (Inaudible) which is our on demand and content with some of our videos, then we have our podcasting as well, which we launched back in last April of 2006.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

Now, the rises here with ESPN and EA Sports, tell us something about this.

Cory Smith – ESPNradio.com

Basically, EA is a one of the leaders in video games and we also think that ESPN is a leader in sports content. So, it’s just kind of a natural partnership. So, we’ve partnered with them and it’s a pretty interactive, it’s a cool feature that once you’re playing these games and you’re log in it, you can get live ESPN updates while you’re playing the games.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

Right.

Cory Smith – ESPNradio.com

So, you have both of video content, SportsCenter and some other clips and podcasting from a live episodes are available as well.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

I know you guys implemented that with NBA Live, you guys had, you go watch SportsCenter like you’ve mentioned before…

Cory Smith – ESPNradio.com

Right.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

…you get Podcast going on over there, with Anti-AA with Mark Landis with (Inaudible) coming out. Are you guys implementing those same things to that game as well?

Cory Smith – ESPNradio.com

Yeah, we’re pretty much trying to implement a trust board on all of our sports games, so I’ll be available on all of them.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

Now, I’m a fan of your site, I can’t go to ESPN.com checking out the Warriors and the Niners and the Giants, so they might see them from the Bay Area. What I’ve noticed about you guys, your site is that you guys have implemented blogs, podcasts, most of the sites your daily Podcast there is also Eric (Inaudible) Super Bowl Podcast that’s prior (ph) to that. Probably get some Super Bowl and I want the damn thing.

Cory Smith – ESPNradio.com

Oh, great.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

Let’s talk about some of the changes you’ve made with pods and in podcasting, what do you think that’s going with your site with espn.com in general?

Cory Smith – ESPNradio.com

Yeah, yeah, we’re really proud of our Podcast initiatives. Right now, we currently have about 24 podcasts that we’re offering, both national podcasts and some local podcasts that we’re offering on entrepreneurial platform. Then we’re always trying to come with new shows as well. We have (Inaudible) where all this coming out. We have NASCAR with ESPN and NASCAR again. So, we’re launching a Race Day Podcast as well. It’s really two-fold. One trying to find podcasts that advertisement is one of the part of and then also more importantly podcasts our listeners want so here — so, ESPN is always trying to get through of our sports fans at every single avenue out there. So, (Inaudible) is one of the new initiatives that we feel that we can really help them to get ESPN on the go.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

Cory, how are your reporters dealing with the transition from old-school media into the new media?

Cory Smith – ESPNradio.com

Yeah, they’ve been great to work with. They’ve really strongly embraced it and ESPN has been growing so much, they’re kind of an innovator in the sports arena. So, I think a lot of our town is used to doing new things in embracing that and the great with podcasting is that we think kind of figured in some of our smaller town and making just some of our espn.com writers in news there, the sports now is a great Podcast there as well, so in that instance, they’re definitely strongly embracing it as then can kind of get their name out there a little bit boring get the content out there as well.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

Right. Mike and Mike is one of my favorite shows and I subscribed that Podcast as well. Are there any new things that we can expect in the near future, when it comes to ESPN in their inner content?

Cory Smith – ESPNradio.com

We’re just going everyday. The same announces that day, what kinds of mail we have from users, the great about podcasts and they’ve been on iTunes is that we’re closely monitoring some of the feedback that we get, which is just from the users and what they want. So, the (Inaudible) is a perfect example, we had a lot of demand for an NHL Podcast, so we saw that through our iTunes and through some other feedback that people can submit through espn.com as well through podcenter (ph). So, just whatever the demand is for, we want to create it for them.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

You guys have numbers as far as like number of download metrics on your podcast.

Cory Smith – ESPNradio.com

It’s doing great. We have we first launched that back in April 2006, we had about 40,000-50,000 downloads a week. We’re now at about 700,000 downloads per week…

Rio Pesino – PodTech

Wow!

Cory Smith – ESPNradio.com

…with PTI been our largest Podcast, which is about 175,000-200,000 downloads a week just for that one Podcast.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

So, all for our listeners who don’t know what PTI is, ‘Pardon the Interruption.’

Cory Smith – ESPNradio.com

That’s right with Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

Last question for you, who’s winning the Super Bowl this year?

Cory Smith – ESPNradio.com

Oh, God. Well, it certainly not going to be in New York Times.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

Definitely not, I am with the Bears. The Bears?

Cory Smith – ESPNradio.com

Who knows man, who knows that they’re going to ball this year.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

Well, I am thinking the past, I am thinking the past man, you can’t count them out that’s long date, so we’ll see.

Cory Smith – ESPNradio.com

I hope so.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

We could decide things up at the podcast.

Cory Smith – ESPNradio.com

Hey great, thanks for having me.

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