By Michael Rand
In an interesting new strategy, ESPN rolled out a special site today aimed specifically at sports fans in Chicago. ESPNchicago.com is the first of what we have to imagine will be several metro area-based micro-sites aimed at a narrow fan base. There is plenty of wire copy on the site, but there are also writers devoted specifically to that niche product as well as a special version of SportsCenter with just Chicago highlights. Why Chicago? Well, Scoop Jackson attempts to answer that question. Our guess: a combination of a rabid sports fan base and some built-in writing advantages (ESPN.com columnist Gene Wojciechowski used to work for the Chicago Tribune, for instance). Considering this type of site will compete directly with newspaper web sites, it also could be a tip of the cap to the fact that both major daily newspapers in Chicago are struggling financially. It will be interesting to see how this specialty site fares financially, and when/if other cities might come into the mix. Logical markets for exploration might include New York and Boston … though some might say there is already a site covering those markets to death.
It’s called ESPN.com.
In any event, what do you think?