ESPN announced today that Boston will be the next city to be featured in its expansion of local sports sites, joining Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York. ESPNBoston.com, slated to launch September 14, will be ESPN’s home for New England sports news and information, online video, and original and customized content integrated from ESPN’s multiple platforms. A stable of authentic Boston voices familiar to local fans will be at the core of the site, including newly hired Mike Reiss, formerly the Boston Globe NFL writer, who will cover the New England Patriots. The site will also feature dedicated reporter/blogger coverage of the Boston Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, New England Revolution and major collegiate sports programs in the area. The site will also grow to provide small college and regional high school coverage.
“Adding Boston to ESPN’s local sites network is a natural fit for our goal of serving sports fans,” said Jim Pastor, senior vice president, ESPN Business Divisions. “It is one of the nation’s premier sports towns and home to one of the strongest and most passionate fan bases in the world. We’re looking forward to launching ESPNBoston.com as a leading source of New England sports news and information.”
Select columns and podcasts from ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons (aka The Sports Guy) will appear on both ESPN.com and ESPNBoston.com. Simmons is a Boston native and devoted fan of the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots and Bruins. Before joining ESPN, Simmons established himself by writing highly popular columns on his own Web site, BostonSportsGuy.com (part of AOL’s Digital City Boston).
The announcement follows the recent news that ESPN will launch sites in Dallas, Los Angeles and New York in the next 10 months. ESPN’s first local site, ESPNChicago.com (which launched in April), has already established itself as the top sports site for Chicago fans and among the most popular news and information destinations for Chicago residents. In July, ESPNChicago.com logged almost 1.7 million minutes of time spent on the site from over 700,000 unique visitors, up 19% in both metrics compared to June, and up 153 percent in total minutes and 87 percent in unique visitors since May. The site also struck a content syndication agreement with The Huffington Post Chicago in which ESPNChicago.com sports news and content complements HuffPost Chicago’s unique blend of news, opinion, politics, local news, food and style. In exchange, The Huffington Post Chicago supplements ESPNChicago.com’s local content which includes ESPN Radio 1000, and Chicago news, traffic and weather from ABC-owned TV station WLS.
- Online video, including highlights, news, analysis and original content from ESPN programs including Baseball Tonight, NFL Live, College Football Live and more;
- Coverage of the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, New England Revolution, Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern University, Harvard University and more;
- Small college and regional high school coverage;
- Real-time scores, GameCasts and video highlights;
- Original reporting, blogs and commentary from a stable of local voices;
- Breaking sports news and information;
- Clubhouse pages from professional and college leagues;
- Community tools such as Fan Profiles, SportsNation chats and polls, ESPN Conversations pages and ESPN Travel Passport, ESPN.com’s digital fan scrapbook;
- ESPNBoston.com Mobile site and podcasts;
- The same innovative local and national advertising opportunities that ESPN.com offers.
The launch of ESPNBoston.com coincides with ESPN’s Monday Night Football season opening doubleheader, featuring the Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots (7 p.m. ET). The MNF doubleheader will be part of the NFL’s celebration of the 50th anniversary season of the American Football League (AFL), of which the Patriots were an original member. The game also marks Tom Brady’s anticipated return to the field following a season-ending knee injury in the opening game last year.