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Upfronts 2014: ESPN, ABC Join for Parent's Sports Project

In a mash up of Walt Disney Co. assets, ESPN and ABC are teaming up to create a new advertiser sponsored initiative called “Fan for Life.”

“Fan for Life,” unveiled at ESPN’s upfront presentation Tuesday morning, is designed to celebrate parents and the role they play as their kids participate in sports. It kicks off next Mother’s Day and runs through Father’s Day 2015.

Stories of parents and kids will be told on ABC’s Good Morning America, ESPN’s SportsCenter and ESPNW.

ESPN and ABC expect to work together on other projects as well, said Ed Erhardt, president of global customer marketing and sales at ESPN.

“The goal is to create ideals and solutions that incorporate the assets of ESPN, ABC and Disney,” Erhardt said. He added that the upfront presentation was the first time advertisers were hearing about “Fan for Life,” and that no sponsors are attached yet.

“We’ll use data to develop customized live messaging across all our digital platforms, said Geri Wang, president of ad sales at ABC.

ESPN also talked about a research initiative that measures ad effectiveness across TV, digital, print, and radio called Convergence Effectiveness Modeling.

“We have enough data now to be able to talk to advertisers about the optimal mix they should consider,” Erhardt said. “Everyone wants to know what’s the right mix.”

ESPN says CEM harnesses big data aggregating and combining data insights from multiple advertisers on a continuous basis, providing them with flexibility and making their ad strategies more compelling and efficient. ESPN continuously follows 24 brands — both ESPN advertisers and non-ESPN advertisers — combining third-party data with a survey that gathers information from 2,500 consumers a month.

The brand metrics studied include brand awareness, ad awareness, purchase intent, brand perception, actions taken and word of mouth.

Erhardt said ESPN began tracking brands this way for 14 advertisers during the last World Cup and is now providing information for 24 football sponsors.

Among the more interesting results from CEM is that print and mobile work well together. CEM also found high levels of mobile consumption in prime time, both in home and out of home.