Complete Coverage: Upfronts 2012
ESPN will collaborate with Twitter on an interactive social media campaign beginning with next month's NBA Finals, the network announced at its upfront presentation Tuesday morning.
The partnership will bring interactive programs -- co-created between ESPN and Twitter -- that will be promoted across Twitter, ESPN networks, ABC and ESPN's digital assets, including ESPN.com and ESPN Mobile.
The first program, GameFace, will kick off during June's NBA Finals. Integrated throughout the live broadcasts on ABC and ESPN's NBA studio program, NBA Tonight, the initiative will ask fans to tweet their "game face" (using the #gameface hashtag) and NBA Tonight will unveil their favorites at the end of each night. At the conclusion of the NBA Finals, analyst Jalen Rose will also tweet his top five, with the best one receiving a tour of ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn.
"Working together, ESPN and Twitter are giving marketers a clear and powerful way to link on-air and online social conversations around sports," said Joel Lunenfeld, Twitter's VP of global brand strategy. "It's the first time advertisers can engage the audience around ESPN's premier content across screens and where the conversation is happening on Twitter."
The social media campaign will also include the Global X Games, Road to the BCS National Championship, Super Bowl, World Series and NCAA's Men's Basketball Tournament.
ESPN also announced Tuesday that ESPN Films will return the popular 30 for 30 series of documentaries. The first iteration featured collaborations with Peter Berg, Berry Levinson and Ice Cube. 30 for 30 Vol. II will premiere in October.
"30 for 30 was conceived as a finite collection and when the original series ended in December of 2010 with Pony Excess, we had underestimated the strength of the connection fans had made between sports documentaries and the 30 for 30 brand," said Connor Schell, VP of ESPN Films. "We're proud to have created a brand that has become synonymous with quality sports storytelling and we see value in bringing back a second collection of 30 films."
In addition, a series of digital short film series, 30 for 30 Shorts will run on the network's offshoot website, Grantland. A new short film will debut each month, beginning this September. Grantland editor-in-chief Bill Simmons -- who serves as executive producer for the 30 for 30 series -- will be hosting podcasts with each of the filmmakers as well.
Grantland will also be launching its own YouTube channel this summer.
In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Title IX, ESPN Films will premiere Nine for IX, a series of docu-films about women in sports. Films will air on ESPN in primetime and ABC on Saturdays beginning summer 2013.
On Thursday, ABC's Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts will debut In the Game with Robin Roberts -- a new series that will air across SportsCenter, espnW.com and ABCNews.com -- featuring exclusive interviews with accomplished female athletes. The series will run Thursdays between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. ET.
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