ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. campus is never short on influencers roaming the grounds – from Stephen A. to Woj and from Schefty to SVP – the hallways are regularly traipsed by the biggest names in sports media.
Last Thursday, however, the influencers visiting SportsCenter, ESPN Radio, ESPN’s gym and the famous ESPN Cafe were members of the inaugural ESPN Creator Network and boasted a combined 16 million TikTok followers.
Announced in September 2022, ESPN’s Social Media Group and agency partner Blue Hour Studios carefully selected 10 emerging North American influencers and creators, who, for the next four months, will be given unique access to select ESPN events and learning opportunities. Each Creator will contribute by sharing content on their own platforms to help continue to grow ESPN’s connection with young audiences.
“We continue to see social consumers gravitate toward first-person, authentic content and our inaugural class has demonstrated a unique ability to grow and engage their social communities,” said ESPN’s Vice President, Social Media Kaitee Daley. “ESPN has always been fan-centric, and Creator Network is a new-age way of expressing that.”
Thursday’s launch of the collaboration at ESPN’s headquarters included meetings with ESPN’s Social Media Group and Omar Raja, the program’s lead ambassador. ESPN personalities Hannah Storm, Sage Steele, Dan Orlovsky, Laura Rutledge and Gary Striewski also spoke with the group.
ESPN Social has generated 6.7 billion fan engagements over the past year, boasting four of the Top 50 most engaged brands in the social ecosystem. ESPN also remains a Top 3 most followed and engaged brand on TikTok but, Daley says the program is about depth over breadth.
“We were intentional about partnering with a diverse group of creators who specialize in different areas of subject matter expertise and fandom,” Daley said.
Two creators couldn’t make the trip to Bristol but, true to their brands, they were putting their own spin on live event coverage opportunities like F1’s U.S. Grand Prix and trying to set an NFL game attendance record.