ESPN to Move Writers to ESPN+ While Adding Radio Show Telecasts

Jacob Feldman
·2 min read

As sports subscription service ESPN+ continues to expand, its newest additions will come from inside the house. As of Nov. 9, five daily ESPN radio shows’ telecasts will be exclusively available on the platform for both live and on-demand viewers. Listeners of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, Greeny, The Max Kellerman Show, Chiney & Golic Jr., as well as the Spanish-language show Jorge Ramos y Su Banda will still be able to access audio and podcasts without a subscription.

At the same time, some written work from many of the company’s most popular writers, including Bill Barnwell, Zach Lowe, Jackie MacMullan and Jeff Passan, will move to ESPN+ as well. Breaking news will still be available for free, but other articles will often require a subscription to read across the company’s platforms. ESPN digital content vp Nate Ravitz said the expansion could double the amount of traffic for E+ written content, with subscription material set to make up around 10% of ESPN’s overall written output. The New York Post first reported the decision.

“We’ve seen—not just with the existing Insider subscribers but all the new subscribers that have come in—how much they have engaged with written content,” Ravitz said. “That made us even more emboldened to expand the offering and make sure we had even more for them. Ultimately, we’re trying to make sure we have relevant content for sports fans year-round.”

Last week, Disney announced a corporate reorganization as it focuses on direct-to-consumer businesses including Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+.

“Fans come to ESPN via our apps to read, to watch, to listen, to play fantasy,” ESPN+ executive vp and general manager Russell Wolff said. “So ESPN+ being a multifaceted product … is consistent with our heritage and what fans value.”

Wolff suggested that the company is not planning to curate 24/7 streaming channels for the service the way competitors have. “We don’t think that’s what fans are looking for,” he said, pointing instead to the personalization features in the ESPN app that surface relevant video options for users.

As for ESPNews, where several radio telecasts previously lived, Wolff said the channel will devote more time to—well—news shows like SportsCenter and feature programming.

Thirty months after launch, ESPN+ has over 8.5 million subscribers.

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