ESPN streaming service launches new brand campaign by Preacher

Ads for the ESPN+ streaming platform champion obscure sports and classic match-ups.

Sports fans aren’t just obsessed with the major leagues. 

A new brand campaign for ESPN+ displays the wide world of sports that viewers can stream on its over-the-top platform. 

Partnering with Austin-based agency Preacher, the ESPN+ campaign proclaims, “It Exists Because You Do.” A series of 30- and 15-second spots, along with 6-second prerolls, broke this weekend across ESPN’s TV and digital properties. The campaign is also supported by off-channel broadcast and digital advertising.  

“From the start, we’ve seen ESPN+ as providing fans choice, serving them in ways we haven’t before, and building more direct relationships between them and the overall brand,” said Russell Wolff, executive VP and GM at ESPN+.

The campaign reminds sports fans, both digital natives and the cable generation, that they can find their favorite sports on demand. The spots also highlight ESPN's scope. One scene shows a Pittsburgh fan decked out in black and gold streaming a German soccer game, while another moment depicts a man from Indiana streaming an old Orlando Magic game.

“There are only so many hours in the broadcast day, and traditionally popular sports like football and basketball get the lion's share of them,” said Greg Hunter, creative director at Preacher. “Because of that, fans of things like international soccer and mixed martial arts can end up feeling a little left out. But that's precisely who ESPN+ was made for, and we wanted to let them know it.”

The spots break the fourth wall by having the actors interact with ESPN+ cameras that have intruded into their homes “to help make them feel as real as the actual fans we were talking to,” said Hunter.

ESPN+ is a partnership between Disney's Direct-to-Consumer and International business segment and ESPN.

Sports broadcasting, one of the last bastions of linear TV, is slowly but surely shifting toward digital consumption. In the next three to five years, global revenues from sports digital media rights will grow by 11.5%, as revenues from traditional TV rights will slow to their lowest point ever at 3.2% growth, according to a 2019 report by eMarketer. 

“With ESPN+, we’re building an identity that delivers on all the promises fans expect from ESPN in a future-looking way–more choice, personalization and technology that delivers on the promise of streaming,” said Wolff. “Still, in the direct-to-consumer space particularly, the audience, in our case sports fans, must be at the heart of the identity.”

ESPN+ launched in 2018 with a few advantages in hand, including its established brand and Disney ownership, which opened access to the Disney+ and Hulu platforms. Disney is currently offering a bundle to subscribers that includes Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ subscriptions for $12.99 per month.  

“Working with Disney+ and Hulu is a really distinctive advantage that ESPN+ has,” said Wolff. “So is the power of the ESPN brand and the broader platform. They all help us create a very strong foundation and pipeline for exposure, understanding, consideration and action.”

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