A conversation with...
Gus Seebeck, Commercial Director, ESPN Australia/New Zealand
ASTRA asked Gus Seebeck from ESPN Australia/New Zealand to talk about their exciting new acquisition, 3D broadcasts, and what’s in store for the future on ESPN.
ESPN has just acquired the website www.footytips.com.au. What are the plans for this business and how will it integrate with your other products in Australia?
Footytips.com.au is Australia’s leading social sports tipping and fantasy games platform offering tipping competitions across 20 of Australia’s favourite sports, most notably AFL and NRL. The site has approximately 500,000 registered users who are highly engaged with the site across both its online and mobile platforms. Prior to the acquisition, ESPN was already one of the leading online and mobile sports destinations lead by our existing sites espncricinfo.com, espnsoccernet.com and espn.com We know there is very little duplication of audience when footytips is added so the acquisition will position ESPN as the leading online and mobile sports destination for several months of the year and in the top 2 year-round. This is a fantastic way for us to continue to localise our business and better serve Australian sports fans and advertisers.
ESPN broke through this year with coverage of the NBA rating in the Top 10 for several days, what are some of the other sports that are growing audiences in Australia?
The recent NBA season rated extremely well, especially the playoffs and finals. There is no question the Australian audience enjoys the NBA and we’re very proud of our coverage. We’ve also seen fantastic ratings for the Super Bowl this year along with the UEFA Champions League Final between Barcelona and Manchester United. The World Series of Poker is always popular and we’ve seen increasing ratings this year for the X Games and Winter X Games along with AMA SuperCross which is a very consistent performer.
What is the priority of 3D broadcasts for ESPN Australia and worldwide?
Our domestic business in the US has invested heavily in 3D content and has a 24/7 3D channel with a number of larger affiliates. We’ve produced a wide range of sports in 3D including NBA, Baseball, College Football and Basketball, Golf, Boxing and both summer and winter X Games. Fortunately we’ve been able to show the majority of this 3D programming on FOXTEL’s 3D channel which has been a great positioning and marketing statement for ESPN. We’re fully committed to 3D sport both in the US and globally and see it as a great way to reinforce our global leadership in broadcast innovation.
The X Games is also expanding with new events planned outside the US. What are the plans for Australia and how will this impact your business?
From 2013 the US summer and winter X Games will be joined by 4 additional X Games events from other parts of the world. This represents a major expansion of the X Games product and a significant commitment to action sports. We’re currently working through a bidding process with cities from all over the world. We’ve had a fantastic response from several cities in Australia and New Zealand. We’re very hopeful that we can work through the process and have one of these cities be successful. Bringing an X Games event to our region would be a major boost for our business and a fantastic thrill for local sports fans.
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