ESPN may be the Goliath of sports broadcasting, but a new, more nimble brand is about to start chipping away at its market share. Time Inc. today is launching 120 Sports, its all-digital network that will feature an endless supply of sports-related content in videos that clock in under two minutes.
The network will not just broadcast up-to-the-minute videos of what’s happening in the sports world, but will also be responding to whatever sports-related themes are trending on social media. “Below the video player, viewers will find a constantly rotating collection of data cards integrating everything from live tweets and polls to Sports Illustrated stories and ads, all of which can be pulled up without ever leaving the video,” Adweek reports.
"It's really just not television," Joe Inzerillo, chief technology officer at MLB Advanced Media told Ad Age. "It's the anti-television."
And that's exactly the point. The network is hoping to be millennial-friendly with a strict no-suit rule for its anchors, all of which will use iPads and smartphones to keep up with sports news while broadcasting.
“We think this is going to change the way that people interact with sports content,” said Time Inc. EVP Todd Larsen, according to Adweek. 120 Sports president and Silver Chalice co-founder Jason Coyle noted that the network hopes to be “ubiquitous by this time next year.”
120 is getting a big boost from its launch partners including, MLB, the NBA, the NHL, NASCAR, the PGA and Campus Insiders, which is involved with a number of the biggest college athletic conferences. Notably, the NFL is missing from that line-up, but as MLB.com notes, this is a “first-of-its-kind partnership involving multiple leagues and content properties.”
Nissan, Geico, Transamerica and Verizon are the network’s initial sponsors through this year. The network won’t be a 24/7 operation at first, and will initially broadcast from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Eastern on its app and its website, Ad Age notes.
The launch follows Sports Illustrated's own digital revamp this week, including a redesigned website and mobile app.
“The new format allows for substantial flexibility based on news events and editorial direction, and will freely incorporate text, photos, video and audio through a completely rebuilt content management system,” Sports Business Daily reports. Fit for multiple-sized screens, it looks like 120 is already influencing its sister brands.
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