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ESPN Gives Fans Short-Form Content Compilations With Launch of New Series ‘ESPN Stories’

Stephanie Sengwe

ESPN is making a bid for those ever elusive younger viewers and their short attention spans with the launch of a new series called “ESPN Stories.” According to Variety, the Disney-owned sports conglomerate has begun rolling out the series on the ESPN app through its latest update. The series will offer “quick-hit content compilations” ranging from plays and highlights, to commentators’ opinions, interviews with players, all the way to moments captured by fellow sports fans as well.

“If we can showcase the amazing work the broader company is doing, I think that’s a significant win here that will result in more consumption, more time spent, more bandwidth,” Ryan Spoon, senior vice president of digital and social content at ESPN, said in an interview.

Subscribers will have access to Stories put together by renowned commentators such as Omar Raja, Christine Williamson, Jason Fitz or Ashley Brewer. According to Variety, ESPN has made an effort to separate Stories from SportsCenter segments. Content covered on “ESPN Stories” is completely different and “often prompts users to find out more by tuning in to an event, accessing a recent ESPN article or even engaging in a transaction of some sort.”

“ESPN Stories” is a way for the media company to reach its younger audience members seeing as though they do not gravitate to pay-TV the way the older demographics do. According to Variety, traffic to the ESPN app skyrocketed 254 percent in the first six months of 2020 and prior to that, the platform saw 25.4 million unique users back in September.

Even before the launch of “ESPN Stories,” the company had its hand on the pulse of younger audiences. “It offers a version of ‘SportsCenter’ for Snapchat users, for example, and maintains roosts in many emerging platforms, including Instagram and TikTok,” Variety reported. “ESPN’s various feeds on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, for example, took a total of 2.2 billion actions on those platforms in the first six months of this year, according to Shareablee, an increase of 70 percent over the year-earlier period.”