There’s no doubt that ESPN has been taking hits from cord cutters who prefer watching their TV through Amazon, Hulu, Netflix and keep track of their friends through Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. But now the Worldwide Leader is hitting back in a new ad campaign.

Variety reports that ESPN has created the campaign which notes that sports needs to be watched live and viewers could miss a big moment if they’re watching a movie on Netflix or updating their Facebook pages. The ads urge viewers to watch ESPN and go on social media later because social media will always be there:

The spots, created by ad agency 72andSunny, will run across ESPN’s TV, digital and mobile properties for a few weeks, he said, and then come back for the summer. They surface after ESPN’s financial performance has come under heavier scrutiny by investors concerned that even live sports – one of the few TV programming genres to keep mass audiences – can’t keep consumers from dropping subscriptions to the network.

The commercials don’t mention the social outlets by name, but it seems clear that ESPN is tilting at Netflix, Amazon, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. “Sharing your life can wait,” one ad tells viewers, “because it’s just like everyone else’s.”

The ads will begin airing on ESPN’s TV networks and seen on its streaming platforms extensively throughout the summer. They’ll be in rotation over the 18 to 24 months meaning that ESPN is investing heavily in the ad campaign and wants to ensure that viewers get the message about watching live sports over a Netflix movie or updating social media. We’ll see if the campaign works or falls on deaf ears.

It used to be that ESPN could just air an event and wait for the viewers to flock to their TV’s, but in this day and age, ESPN has to rise above the technological fray and it hopes that the new ad campaign will change the minds of those who have decided that Netflix is more important than sports.


About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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