(L-R) Co-hosts Treavor Scales, Ashley Brewer and Taylor Twellman on the SportsNation set (Kelly Backus/ESPN Images)
It’s an exciting day for ESPN+ with the premiere of both the new SportsNation and Stephen A’s World. As ESPN+ continues to grow, so does ESPN’s programming strategy to continue to make its lineup of daily and weekly studio shows on the direct-to-consumer streaming service more robust, specifically driven by expert voices and personality.
Norby Williamson (EVP, Event and Studio Production & Executive Editor, ESPN), David Roberts (SVP, Production, ESPN) and Russell Wolff (EVP & General Manager, ESPN+) share details:
What is it about the SportsNation brand that makes it a great fit for ESPN+ and what can fans expect with the new iteration?
Williamson: Younger fans are largely avid users of both the platform for the show (streaming) and the foundation (social media), so we were really excited about the idea of bringing the two together. SportsNation has always thrived because of talented, personality-driven hosts that like to have fun – Ashley Brewer, Treavor Scales and Taylor Twellman check all the boxes. They’ll be joined by a rotation of contributors that will keep the energy and conversation fresh. This deep roster of talent that resonates and engages with younger fans primarily on digital and social is something we didn’t have 2-3 years ago, and we believe it will make the show even stronger.
How will Stephen A’s World be different from what he does across other ESPN programming?
Roberts: Nobody embodies the combination of personality, informative insight, entertainment and perspective more than Stephen A. This show will be entirely his, through his perspective, with interviews, notable guests, insights and analysis on the latest news, plus fun and unique segments that only Stephen A can deliver. On the premiere show, Stephen A landed Snoop Dogg, a lifelong Steelers fan, and Browns fan Steve Harvey as his first guests – this underscores Stephen A’s commitment to further differentiating his impact, no matter the platform. His relationship with fans on digital and social platforms will also be brought to the forefront of the show, allowing him to engage with them in new ways.
Was adding more studio shows always part of the plan for ESPN+?
Wolff: We’ve always approached studio programming as a core component of our overall content strategy. It started with shows that served specific audiences around our live events on ESPN+. Over time, our audience has grown and become more diverse in their levels and areas of interest, and we’ve added more studio-based content to engage and appeal to that broader audience. This began with the telecasts of ESPN Audio programs last year, and now SportsNation and Stephen A’s World are another step forward, giving us two fantastic anchors in a strong, growing, daily studio lineup.