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Hard To Beat: The Undefeated Refreshes Look, Celebrates Zion Williamson With #ZionTrain Takeover

ESPN platform for sports, race and culture launches its homepage's new design by examining Duke phenomenon who is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in 2019 NBA Draft

Content examining Zion Williamson from several angles dominates The Undefeated’s new-look front page today.

The Undefeated turned a new page today. The ESPN platform for sports, race and culture launched its new design by dedicating the home page to content on Zion Williamson (#ZionTrain) – the Duke men’s basketball star and perhaps the most anticipated NBA Draft prospect since LeBron James in 2003.

#ZionTrain complements ESPN’s multiplatform coverage of the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery (Tuesday, May 14, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) in Chicago. The Undefeated’s new home page design coincides with the platform’s third-year anniversary.

Managing editor Raina Kelley discusses #ZionTrain and The Undefeated home page’s refreshed look, which can be seen in the photos above (new) and below (old):

Why Zion?
People like to say that the homepage isn’t a thing. People go to stories. But people also flock to shared cultural moments that are bigger than a single story. Zion Williamson is a cultural moment. We wanted to dig deep regarding the No. 1 NBA Draft pick which is almost definitely going to be Zion or as we called him: the hoops legend who hasn’t even been drafted yet. It’s his lottery, we’re just hopping aboard.

Has The Undefeated dedicated the home page to a person or subject before Zion?
We’ve done this before but not often. We turned the page purple and dedicated the home page to stories about Prince [Rogers Nelson] after he died [the musician died April 21, 2016] – in appreciation of his massive cultural contribution. We also once turned the page to [tennis star] Serena [Williams] on Sept. 9, 2016 [to note significant career milestones].

What’s the thinking behind the timing to redesign the home page?
Consumers of The Undefeated content come to us from all sorts of places. Shout out to espn.com! But we wanted a home page that highlighted our mission to differentiate and nuance. We wanted to create a look and feel that also felt curated and considered. A homepage with the flexibility to highlight all our strengths across platforms. Now we can shine a top of page light on our writers, our wonderful video work or even a single subject matter that takes over the news cycle and still allows for breaking news in our wheelhouse. Also, it’s our motto …“Not Conventional. Never boring.” We’re going to be three-years-old in a week [Friday, May 17]. Time for a change.

Mac Nwulu contributed to this post.
ESPN VP, Production, Mike Shiffman, previews 2019 NBA Draft Lottery coverage plans in this New York Post article.

Here’s a look at The Undefeated’s home page during its May 17, 2016 launch.
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