ESPN will draw on the Chicago connections of staff talent like Gene Wojciechowski and Scoop Jackson to launch its locally focused ESPNChicago.com. The Website will cover both pro and amateur sports, the highlights popping up on a nightly 3-5 minute Webcast called Chicago SportsCenter, which may run longer if the material calls for it.
Once the Chicago outfit is in place, ESPN VP of Digital Media Marc Horine says the sports giant will roll the model out in subsequent markets, though he won’t say which is next. Chicago was a logical choice for the program, he says, due to the high number of Chicago-based visitors to ESPN.com, the city’s rich sports culture, and the presence of both a local ESPN radio franchise and sales outfit. “We felt the time was right to pool together all the resources in the company,” he says, “and build the ultimate Chicago sports destination.”
The venture launches in April, and Horine says high school sports—a growing area of specialty for local broadcasters as ESPN dominates the pro and college ranks—will be a prominent part of the mix. “We plan to cover high school sports as in-depth as possible,” he says.