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Here’s How ESPN’s ‘Sportsgiving’ Spot, Narrated By Stephen A. Smith, Came To Be

This year's unique sports calendar reinforces the value of live sports, say Seth Ader, VP of Brand Marketing and Susan Mattia, VP of Affiliate Marketing

Vice President, Brand Marketing, Seth Ader, talks about the creation and response to the current “Sportsgiving” marketing spot, in the video above and on various ESPN platforms.

How did you come up with “Sportsgiving?”
We locked arms with the affiliate distribution marketing team to capitalize on the unique sports calendar that fans were about to experience as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reinforce the value of ESPN within the pay TV ecosystem.

Seth Ader

Working with the McKinney agency, we went all-in on the power of live sports to drive customer retention and brand love for ESPN. With a portfolio second to none, this is ESPN’s moment to be a beacon of excitement for a society encountering great disruption. And who better to narrate this celebration of the sports cornucopia than our very own [featured commentator, First Take] Stephen A. Smith, the very personification of Sportsgiving.

As the spot indicates, various sports are all overlapping like never before. Does that present a challenge for your team in speaking to fans?
This is what we call an embarrassment of riches. If you’re a sports fan, you’re in for a treat for the rest of 2020. Our marketing challenge lies in finding ample media inventory to appropriately support and promote each of the league properties we air and navigate fans to windows that are unusual and unexpected. We’re tapping into all of ESPN’s tentacles to increase the campaign’s reach, intersect fans’ lives with timely promotion, and position ESPN as an absolutely essential part of the sports experience.

How are fans reacting to “Sportsgiving,” and to the return of sports in general?
We’ve seen a fantastic reaction to the campaign from our fans and business partners. Sports viewing is returning with a vengeance, particularly in the 25-34 age demographic. Digital consumption is returning to pre-COVID levels, and our brand remains as strong and vital as ever. We are laser-focused on the next few months of the sports calendar to fully capitalize on the 2020 Sports Extravaganza.

Susan Mattia

Susan Mattia, Disney and ESPN’s VP of Affiliate Marketing, whose team works closely with Brand Marketing, added a point about the reaction of our affiliate partners:

How are our affiliates reacting to the busiest sports calendar in history?

Sports fans and our partners have been craving for more sports to watch as we know ESPN is ranked by both consumers and affiliates as the most important and valuable content in the pay TV universe. The “Sportsgiving” campaign helps our affiliates promote their services’ value by using this campaign throughout their customer marketing channels. The team has done a great job selling in the campaign and maximizing reach with our partners.

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