ESPN Teaming With YouTube for 'SportsCenter' Stunt

Who doesn't want to
appear in a highlight on SportsCenter?
Now you might get your chance.

ESPN is getting
ready to launch a tie-in between SportsCenter
and YouTube in which fans will be able to submit sports highlights featuring
themselves or their families and the best of them will wind up on the network's
flagship program, said John Kosner, senior VP and general manager for
digital media.

The deal is one of
the first examples of ESPN working with one of the major social media platforms
on a commercial program, according to Kosner. It was unclear whether ESPN has
landed a sponsor for the program.

"It's early. There
is a lot of ad sales interest in social media programs on and on ESPN
Mobile," Kosner said. In addition to YouTube, ESPN is talking about commercial
programs with Facebook and Twitter, he added.

Sports fans are
turning to social media as a way to discuss games and trade information about
their favorite teams and players, and sports programmers are increasingly
finding ways to make it easy for viewers to access social networks while
consuming games and other content.

"What's really
changing is fans' desire to create their own content. And that can be being on
a message board, or sending a photo on Facebook, playing a game or a variety of
games, sharing information. That's becoming a big part of the online usage
story and it's certainly coming to sports," Kosner said

ESPN linked up with
Facebook during the NFL draft. That enabled fans following the draft on to indicate which players and teams they liked and have that news go
directly onto their Facebook newsfeeds.

ESPN also
implemented live Facebook chats that were open to either a viewer's friends or
to all Facebook users.

ESPN also
implemented Facebook chant as part of its World Cup coverage.

"We'll do more of
that," Kosner said, adding that more elements of the Facebook social-media took
kit will be popping up on

ESPN is also about
to launch a sports social game called ESPNU College Town. The game has been created by
Playdom, which was recently acquired by ESPN parent the Walt Disney Co.

The game allows fans
to build their own college campuses and works sort of like a student-athletic
version of the Sims, Kosner says.

ESPN expects most of
its participants to arrive via Facebook, and adds that EPSN plans a have
promotional push both on ESPN TV channels as well as on Facebook to drive
sports fans to participate in the game.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.