ESPN’s mission to serve fans is, in a way, more meaningful now than ever. Live sports might be on pause, but the sports world continues to move forward, and ESPN’s Digital and Social team is following it every step of the way.
In addition to covering the latest stories and breaking news on ESPN.com – which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary – and the ESPN App, the ESPN Social team continues to find new and creative ways to create content in the absence of live sports highlights.
ESPN Digital & Social Content SVP, Ryan Spoon shares highlights from the past month:
What adjustments have you had to make given the current times?
We’ve leaned more heavily on fan-submitted videos. In building a more direct relationship with fans over the years, we’re more prepared than ever to keep fans engaged and entertained. Getting the LeBron stamp of approval is recent proof of that.
There has also been successful engagement for stunts like #SeniorNight, which produced nearly 5 million total video views across digital and social platforms. Our college basketball GOAT bracket also attracted more than 8.5M votes across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
A little taste of what to expect from The Replay by @espn📲
— Nabil Karim (@NabilKarimESPN) April 6, 2020
At the same time, the team also kept things on track leading up to yesterday’s launch of “The Replay” on Quibi. It’s a fantastic show and I’m incredibly proud of the team for their dedication and resilience.
Has the shift in strategy affected the level of engagement with fans on social platforms?
Not at all. Despite all the challenges, in March, the average engagement per post grew +78% YOY for @SportsCenter and +42% YOY for @ESPN across Instagram. Average engagement per post on Twitter grew +44% YOY across both @ESPN and @SportsCenter accounts. Video views on Instagram for the @ESPN and @SportsCenter account reached 1.5B views (+333% YOY). We also gained 2.2M followers to @espn on TikTok – up +51% in March alone – for a total of 6.7M current followers.