ESPN to launch dedicated women’s sport platform ESPNW

ESPN is bringing its dedicated women’s platform ESPNW to Australia, with the platform set to live within

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Speaking with Mumbrella, Lance Peatey, director of digital products and partnerships at ESPN Australia and NZ, said: “This is not something we’ve just thought up overnight, it’s actually been quite an extensive journey. I’ve been speaking with Laura Gentile, who is the big boss of ESPNW for a couple of years now in terms of how we bring this to the Australian market.

“Off the back of our success of our local edition of this is the way we feel it is best for our market. It basically gives us an opportunity to serve a whole different audience, as a predominately male-demo focused network to this point we now have an ability to tap into a wider female audience.”

Laura Gentile, senior vice president, ESPNW and women’s initiatives, said: “Australia was the right next destination for us as we continue to grow the ESPNW brand in the US and around the world.

“The country has a rich sports tradition, and women and women’s sports have long been in the national consciousness. We look forward to telling the amazing stories of Australian female athletes and highlight inspirational women around the globe for this key local audience.”

The ESPN Australia digital network already has a more than 35% female audience on its ESPN Footy Tips site which the team is hoping to further leverage with the launch of ESPNW.

Lance Peatey

Peatey: “We’ve been focused on raising the profile of women’s sport for a long time”

The launch of ESPNW follows the launch of ESPN’s Australian-focused edition in March, and will sit within that edition.

Peatey said: “The section is going to sit within our Australia edition, it’s a dedicated section to aggregate the best of women’s sport. We will still have sections like a dedicated section to netball, but W is something that allows us to aggregate the best content around women that we have across our entire network both on TV and on digital.”

ESPNW coverage will largely be news and features, as well as profiles of female athletes; however, when asked about the possibility of streaming content, Peatey said “nothing’s off the table in terms of where this could go”.

“At the moment it really is an avenue for us to amplify what we already have. We have a fairly rich heritage in this. The W product is something that was hatched in the US back in 2010, this is not something we are doing overnight. There’s certainly been a lot of coverage around raising the profile of women’s sport and we’ve been focused on doing that for a long time and it’s certainly not reactive to anything.”

The local version of ESPNW will also be drawing on initiatives already established in the US such as the annual ESPNW: Women and Sports Summit and the ESPNW Global Sports Mentoring Program; however, there are no plans to launch those initiatives locally.

“That’s not off the table,” said Peatey. “But at this stage we’re concentrating on making this section successful inside our Australian edition.”

The launch of ESPNW is being celebrated with a sponsorship of Seven Network’s national broadcast of the women’s AFL exhibition match between Melbourne and Western Bulldogs this Saturday.

“We have a spot that will be running during the broadcast and there will be a series of billboards to raise awareness of ESPNW,” said Peatey. “That’s just a starting point for us.”


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