The rise of cord cutting and the decline of live television viewing has networks chasing ways to modernize their product. With Disney’s stock dropping 4% last Thursday, thanks in part to ESPN’s rumors of needing to layoff another 100 employees in the coming weeks, SportsCenter is ready to enter a new distribution platform.
Beginning today, ESPN will offer a version of SportsCenter on Snapchat twice each weekday. Episodes will be between three and five minutes long with a 5am ET and 5pm ET version on weekdays and one 5am episode on weekends.
“SportsCenter is the crown jewel of ESPN, and I think it’s defined how generations experience sports and think about the culture of sports,” said Sean Mills, head of Snapchat’s original content. “Now we have a new medium in mobile video and there’s a huge opportunity for a SportsCenter made for mobile, for the next generation of sports fans.”
Looking to reach a younger audience, the mobile geared SportsCenter will offer a cast of casually dressed millennials. Anchors include newly hired Katie Nolan, SC anchor Elle Duncan, NBA commentator Cassidy Hubbarth, radio host Jason Fitz, and comedian Cy Amundson. The quick episodes will be solo hosted and very personality driven.
“We think what will come out [today] is a pretty marked evolution for SportsCenter,” said Ryan Spoon, ESPN Sr. VP, Social Content. “We are aiming for something much bigger and compelling. The news how, the way we think about it is, this should be a very hip and fun and personality-driven studio.”
Mobile content distribution is crucial to reach the younger audience and Spoon anticipates their new SportsCenter on Snapchat will be valuable. The network’s goals for their mainstream show are becoming clearer as SC with SVP, SportsCenter AM, SC6, and now SportsCenter on Snapchat are supplanting the standard SportsCenter that rose to prominence in the 90s.