ESPN is making moves, literally: morning radio/TV show “Mike & Mike” is packing up and heading to Times Square, an effort to borrow more guests and talent from sister network ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the massive cable channel announced during its Tuesday upfront event.
In other news, Scott Van Pelt (pictured above) has signed a multiyear extension with his employer, making him the solo anchor for “SportsCenter’s” weekday midnight ET show.
Speaking of “SportsCenter,” the so-called Worldwide Leader in Sports’ flagship news and highlights show, two more hours are being added from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. ET. The cable giant plans for the new version — which replaces reruns — to be “fast-paced, designed for viewers who are on the move and don’t have much time early in the morning.”
“The new live show will take the popular ‘SportsCenter Top 10’ franchise and turn it into a program with the previous night’s top plays, story lines, quotes, blunders and more,” ESPN explained.
Beginning Feb. 8, 2016, “Mike & Mike” will reside directly above the “GMA” studios. Bringing the Disney channels even closer together, the respective sales teams will sell packages across networks, “allowing advertisers to take advantage of the scale of The Walt Disney Company and reach valuable audiences across multiple demographics and platforms,” ESPN execs touted.
On the movie side, ESPN Films announced Volume 3 of its lauded “30 for 30” franchise, which will include 30 new docs covering stories such as Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield, football coach Pete Carroll and the Buffalo Bills’ four consecutive Super Bowl losses.
Sticking with football for a moment, ESPN will again televise an NFL Wild Card playoff game during the 2015 season. That said, it will be simulcast on ABC for the first time during Wild Card Weekend in January 2016 — another shred of evidence that the Disney companies are willing to use each other more than ever before.
On to America’s pastime, baseball. ESPN touted that it will “own” the final week of the 2015 Major League Baseball regular season by televising up to seven “Postseason Impact Games,” three of which are new this season. That fancy phrase basically means the channel will pull match-ups with direct postseason implications. ESPN has the exclusive rights to the American League Wild Card Game to follow.
ESPN also announced the following new research initiatives, in its own words:
Set Top Box Agreements with Cablevision and Rentrak
- Working with Cablevision, ESPN will be able to marry significant off channel video scale and first party data with Cablevision’s census-level audience tuning data and insights on channel, creating the first true multiscreen video offering to advertisers.
– With Rentrak, ESPN will be able to describe the TV audiences in ways beyond simple demos and can match with third party sources to provide even richer targeting capabilities.
– These new data sets will also serve to enrich existing cross platform effectiveness modeling (XPe), informing partners of the best way to utilize ESPN to drive their business.
Data Management Platforms
- Application that will allow ESPN a richer and more efficient means of creating and managing ad targeting segments in a central, integrated platform.
– Partnering with BlueKai, which has an extensive list of integration partners, including all major DMP, DSP, exchanges, and agency trading desks.