ESPNChicago.com is set for its own Opening Day on Monday, April 13 just in time for the Chicago Cubs home opener. At launch, the Chicago-focused online sports destination will feature exclusive, original content, a stable of authentic Chicago voices, and customized content integrated from across ESPN’s multiple platforms, branded programming and award-winning contributors.
Building on the 10-year success of ESPN’s flagship O&O station (ESPN Radio 1000) and its Web presence, ESPNChicago.com offers a cleaner design and navigation schematic, with a premium on balancing the site’s breadth with ease of use. To organize all of that content, the new site includes a primary navigation bar similar to that of the new ESPN.com (with seven anchor menus, each with expandable rollover menus) and a secondary navigation bar (customized by the site’s editors to include easy access to the most timely topics and sports) on its front page. ESPN Radio 1000, ESPN’s local Chicago radio station, will be included as a subsection on ESPNChicago.com
“We’re excited to be building on the combined successes of both ESPN.com and ESPN Radio 1000 with a new platform for Chicago sports fans,” said Marc Horine, vice president of digital partnerships and sales development for ESPN. “Through a collaborative effort from ESPN Digital Media, ESPN production and ESPN Radio, fans now have a destination for their Chicago sports roundup on-air, online and on-site, and advertisers have a unique opportunity to reach a specific and passionate audience on multiple platforms.”
With the launch, ESPN Digital Media also launches new technology that allows for dynamic, geo-targeted content and ad insertion in both live audio streaming and downloadable audio. The technology will allow for locally relevant content to be delivered in live ESPN Radio streams and free ESPN podcasts (including podcasts available through iTunes), and will allow local and national advertisers to target ads in ESPN audio to Chicago and other markets nationwide.
StubHub is the launch partner for ESPNChicago.com and will be the official ticket provider for the site. Other charter advertising partners include MillerCoors, Hiltons of Chicago, Chicago Lincoln Mercury Dealers and Hawthorne Race Course.
ESPNChicago.com will also be the exclusive home of the daily ESPN Chicago SportsCenter, hosted by SC anchors familiar to Chicago viewers. The video series will feature all things Chicago sports including breaking news and highlights, offering local fans a rundown of their hometown teams and athletes.
ESPNChicago.com will feature local news coverage, video, traffic & weather provided by ABC Owned TV station WLS. The site will also provide links back to abc7chicago.com.