Earlier this week, ESPN announced that it will launch a new website dedicated to covering Chicago sports. The sport media empire decided that it wanted to start targeting sports fans in specific markets and what better city to start with than Chicago. ESPNChicago.com will be the first of these local sports sites, but ESPN is hoping that it won’t be the last.
“We already have a user base with millions of people coming to [ESPN.com] looking for Chicago sports,” Horine said. “At its core, the mission is simple: to super-serve Chicago sports fans.”
In addition to sports news, the site will have social-networking aspects, a travel partnership and even a way to organize your local softball team.
And like the cable channel, ESPN Chicago will feature its own “SportsCenter”-style newscast with a three- to five-minute highlight reel of the day’s top stories. It will have original content and include breaking news, provided by Chicago’s WLS-Ch. 7. The ABC affiliate and ESPN are both owned by The Walt Disney Co.
ESPN columnist Gene Wojciechowski, a former Chicago Tribune sportswriter, will write for the site. Other ESPN contributors will write for the Chicago site, as will ESPN 1000 radio personalities Tom Waddle and Bruce Levine.
To be honest, I guess I’m surprised that this is the first time a major media outlet has created a website solely dedicated to a single region’s sports coverage. The Huffington Post created a Chicago local site last summer with blog posts and aggregated news feeds of stories central to the area. MillerCoors will be the charter advertiser for the ESPN Chicago website to get it up and running. It will certainly be interesting to see how users are attracted to the website and if it becomes a popular go-to website for Chicago sports fans.