October 16, 2010

ESPN Launching New Brand for Women: ESPN is rolling out espnW, a new brand for women that's a Twitter account and Facebook page today and may become a channel in the future. Women make up 44 percent of football fans, 45 percent of baseball fans and 36 percent of professional men's basketball fans. Sports blogger Julie DiCaro has slammed the idea, calling it "the broadcasting equivalent of making something pink and putting sparkles on it."

posted by rcade to general at 02:33 PM - 3 comments

Have to agree with DiCaro. Why on earth would you create a separate identity when you are covering the same sport, unless you are seriously going to change your method of reporting on it. Which I'm guessing will involve sparkling it up somehow.

Urgh. When i watch sport I want to watch sport, not some marketing notion of what appeals to a female sports fan. I have no issue with increasing coverage of women's sports, but that doesn't seem to be what this is about.

posted by Fence at 05:33 PM on October 16, 2010

"It seems like this is the broadcasting equivalent of making something pink and putting sparkles on it," she said.

In a telephone interview, Gentile noted that pink would not be found in the espnW color scheme.

But somehow coral -- which is the associated colour they chose -- is acceptable.

As a female sports fan, this smells like bullshit to me. I don't need a separate site to follow the sports I follow. I want football scores and baseball news, not WNBA tidbits and interviews with "inspirational women in sports." And maybe my innate bias is marginalizing them unfairly already, but I really don't like the idea of separating out women's sports from men's sports; I don't feel it's necessary if regular ESPN would put a half-assed effort into covering women's sports. This is not the answer, in my book.

This also reminds me of the "Della" site that Dell tried to set up exclusively for women, marketing junk like pink netbooks at them and crap like that. Because of course women don't want powerful machinery unless it also comes in a pretty pink wrapper and lots of simple easy-to-follow directions on how to turn it on... as well as lots of frilly accessories and stuff. Mm hmm.

posted by evixir at 10:15 PM on October 17, 2010

A sports station in Canada tried something similar, except instead of a separate channel, it was simply an hour or two a day dedicated to "sports for women, and women in sports".

They assigned their best female reporter and anchor to the project, and hyped it up pretty well.

Two months later, they canned it and she went back to working the main desk for the network.

What I would worry about if I was someone trying to market a female sports league (like WNBA or LPGA), is that they'll immediately push any/all stories or results to espnW. That will completely kill any exposure it might have had on the main network, and it would essentially reduce interest even more.

posted by grum@work at 12:57 AM on October 18, 2010

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