BRISTOL - ESPN on Monday launched a short form version of SportsCenter on Snapchat.
The first airing was scheduled at 5 p.m., with new shows promised twice a day during the week - one at 5 a.m. and one at 5 p.m. - and one new airing at 5 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The new show, each clip of which will last between three and five minutes, is being called the “first ever daily sports show” on Snapchat - which is most popular among teenagers and users in their 20s.
The app first became popular for allowing users to send photos to one another, with an expiration that deletes it in several seconds. Last year, Snapchat launched its “Discover” feature, which has allowed a number of networks to produce TV-like videos.
“SportsCenter on Snapchat provides a creative new format and platform for our flagship franchise to continue to evolve,” Connor Schell, ESPN executive vice president of content, said in a statement.
The show will consist of a “mix of the latest sports news, highlights and commentary,” according to ESPN, and will include Katie Nolan, who recently joined the company, Elle Duncan, Cassidy Hubbarth, Jason Fitz and Cy Amundson as hosts.
“Katie, Elle, Cassidy, Jason and Cy collectively bring a new style, energy and substance that I believe will connect with Snapchat’s audience in a real way,” Schell’s statement continued. “I’m thrilled to bring this level of talent and personality to a new and innovative daily touchpoint for ESPN.”
This announcement comes at a time when ESPN’s ratings, with cable viewership on the decline, have been under pressure, as the company has reportedly lost nearly 13 million subscribers in the last six years. In April, the Bristol-based sports media conglomerate laid off 100 employees, which included many on-air TV personalities. Those followed previous layoffs in 2015 and 2013.
And in recent days, numerous reports have been swirling around that indicate another round of layoffs could hit ESPN before the year ends. Reports have varied as to how many employees would be affected, with numbers ranging from 40 to 100. ESPN has yet to confirm whether layoffs are inevitable.
ESPN continues to try to appeal to a younger audience and adapt to the changing consumer environment, which has seen many in recent years drop typical cable providers in favor of streaming services. According to a statement issued by the company, fans have viewed nearly 1.2 billion SportsCenter video clips to date in 2017 (more than 4 million per day) on ESPN.com and the ESPN mobile app. Additionally, fans have logged nearly 67.7 million hours of time streaming SportsCenter on the ESPN app.
The self-proclaimed “Worldwide leader in sports” is also set to launch its own on-demand streaming service, ESPN Plus, next spring. And just last month, ESPN canceled its partnership with Barstool Sports after only airing one episode of a sports talk show. Barstool, a satirical sports and men’s lifestyle blog, has been linked to a younger audience, but has also been criticized for some of its questionable content.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @muszynskiBP.