Behind The ScenesNCAAB

Fan-driven ‘Tourney Snapshots’ an example of espnW’s assist to ESPN’s women’s basketball coverage

NEW ORLEANS — Senior Coordinating Producer Tina Thornton has helped incorporate the great content from espnW.com into each telecast throughout the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, including the upcoming Women’s Final Four on Sunday and Tuesday on ESPN.

The teamwork between TV and Digital is appreciated.

“The NCAA Women’s Championship is a huge event in women’s sports,” said espnW Vice President Laura Gentile. “The collaboration across our company – between espnW.com and our television platforms, including live event and studio production – to cover the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship from all angles is a service to our fans and a great step forward for espnW.”

Front Row asked Thornton for some insights on this initiative.

Explain the concept of integration from digital to television and vice versa?
We wanted to capitalize on the great work by espnW and organically integrate that content into our coverage. By driving fans back-and-forth between TV and Digital, we take advantage of all of ESPN’s rich content in the women’s basketball space.

Can you remember a time when this much focus was put on the integration of two platforms?
We integrate content successfully across platforms on a variety of sports already. I think the success we’re having with espnW comes from focusing on a few key initiatives and hammering those hard. Once fans get to the site, they surf and find espnW has a lot to offer.

What are some of the main focuses of the espnW integration?
Television had three areas of focus for espnW integration:

• Drive viewers to a crowd-sourced social photo gallery with behind-the-scenes access to the athletes. Check it out at www.espnw.com/tourneyphotos. [Editor’s note: See examples in the video above and the screengrab below].
• Promote espnW’s student-athlete bloggers — started with six bloggers with only [Notre Dame guard] Skylar Diggins surviving before adding one from each of the other Final Four teams.
• “3 To See” was a brand developed in the regular season surrounding the top three players in the country: Brittney Griner (Baylor), Diggins (Notre Dame) and Elena Delle Donne (Delaware). espnW followed suit and we connected the content.

The Tourney Snapshots has exceeded everyone’s expectations. Why do you think it has been so popular?
We learned there are two things that people share most in the social space: video and photos. Any time we can connect the viewer to athletes with new forms of access, they will watch. The photo gallery provides that connection with more than 615,000 clicks to date.

A screengrab of the espnW collection of fan-submitted social media photos related to the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament.    (ESPN)
A screengrab of the espnW collection of fan-submitted social media photos related to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.(ESPN)
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