Disney-owned ESPN has announced the appointment of leading creative advertising agency Droga5 as the sports media company’s new partner.
Droga5, which launched in 2006, has created campaign contents for well-known clients such as Google, Heineken, Hennessy, Mattress Firm, Under Armour, Pizza Hut and others. The New York City-based global advertising agency will focus on managing creative and strategic advertising communications that will promote “SportsCenter” and the ESPN brand, with an effort to appeal to today’s diverse sports fans around the world.
ESPN also attempts to break the ‘male sports fan’ stereotype. “As sports has evolved, we have an opportunity now to speak to a wider audience than just necessarily men,” ESPN’s president of global sales and marketing Ed Erhardt said, according to Wall Street Journal. “Today’s sports fan is more diverse, clearly more female [and] more interested in a wide variety of sports.”
“ESPN wants to target an audience beyond the stereotypical male sports fan, drawing in more women and also people interested in a wider variety of sports,” Erhardt told the Journal.
Esports, a type of competitive video gaming, and more niche offerings like cycling could be included in that expanded coverage. ESPN is also looking to reach more viewers watching on online platforms as well.
Like other cable networks, ESPN has been hit by major subscriber loss, losing 2.8 million cable TV subscribers since August 2016, according to Nielsen data cited by the Journal. Nielsen estimates the channel still has around 86 million subscribers, and ESPN reports it has 87.2 million subscribers, including those paying for its subscription streaming services.
ESPN is banking on Droga5 to not only come up with creative marketing and promotional campaigns, but also to really uplift the brand image and substantially increase its subscriber base.