ESPN’s announcement today about MLB Network’s Intentional Talk represents the latest in a series of forward-thinking collaborative efforts with our Major League Baseball partners, including The Walt Disney Company’s investment in BAMTech and the MLB Little League Classic, to name a few. Intentional Talk, a popular and highly-entertaining program, will help anchor our year-round afternoon weekday lineup, which already features prominent sport-specific studio programs on NFL and NBA.
Intentional Talk joins our long-standing, well-established Baseball Tonight franchise, providing fans with two distinct MLB studio offerings and more hours of MLB studio content than we’ve ever had. The addition of Intentional Talk allows us the flexibility to continue to evolve Baseball Tonight from a weeknight highlight show to a ‘big-event’ countdown show. We will strengthen the Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown franchise, an exceptional lead-in to Sunday Night Baseball, the sport’s signature, national game-of-the-week. Additionally, Baseball Tonight’s on-site presence at MLB’s biggest events –ranging from the World Series to MLB All-Star and much more — will lead the way, and the Beisbol Esta Noche brand on ESPN Deportes will continue in its current form. While there will be fewer overall Baseball Tonight episodes, the series will be more impactful. The dedicated team of behind-the-scenes employees who have made tremendous contributions to Baseball Tonight will continue to do so and/or contribute to other content areas.
We also plan to strengthen and further integrate our studio coverage (wraps) into our additional weekly franchises such as Monday Night Baseball and Wednesday Night Baseball.
Today’s announcement is part of an overall, larger look at how to reach baseball fans most effectively across our platforms. As part of this strategic effort, we intend to focus on serving fans’ interests with the best content in the most impactful way, including a personalized, team-specific focus via alerts, the redesigned ESPN App, ESPN.com and more. We also plan to further integrate baseball content into our broadest ESPN-branded social media offerings on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and beyond, while moving away from the less impactful baseball-specific (e.g. Baseball Tonight) accounts.
As we add Intentional Talk, strengthen big-show Baseball Tonight episodes, and prioritize our digital efforts, with an eye to localization, we’re confident that we are best-positioning ourselves for long-term success as it relates to our year-round MLB commitment.