This will be my final post regarding last week’s ESPN Media Workshop in Bristol.
First and foremost, I doubt anyone who attended the workshop looked at it as anything else but what it was, a P.R. move by ESPN to showcase the multi-platforms of its brand. It was a chance for the network to pinpoint items of interest about its operation with the hopes it would be picked-up by the sports media press.
With that said I thought the workshop was a great opportunity to not only report on what ESPN was working on, but to pry deeper into the layers of the self-proclaimed “World Wide Leader in Sports”.
I thank the ESPN Communications Department for including bloggers in the discussion. It shows that some in Bristol view what we do as important, at least when it comes to expanding the level of dialogue on how ESPN serves its audience. Throughout the two days we were treated as equals along with those from the mainstream media and industry trade publications.
The only major news broken during the workshop came late Thursday when it was announced that the next local ESPN website will debut in Boston (ESPNBoston.com) on September 14th.
Much was made of the virtual reality technology unveiled during the 30th Anniversary panel with Chris Berman and Bob Ley. I had already seen the innovation used last year during CNN’s coverage on Election Night.
Other smaller news items were announced, including expanded college football coverage on ESPNU and a new ESPN Radio program featuring Jeremy Schapp called The Sporting Life, based on a series with the same name made popular by Jeremy’s late father Dick.
The 30th Anniversary panel with Berman, Ley, and Executive VP of Technology Chuck Pagano was a walk down memory lane for those who have been with the network since its inception. I, for one, have always been interested in how media companies got their start and how they’ve grown.
Tours of the Brsitol campus gave us all a better understanding of just how large, both physically and organizationally, ESPN is.
Gaining access to behind-the-scenes looks at the work of production assistants or how the studio is run for Mike & Mike in the Morning or SportsCenter allowed those not in television the chance to see the details to what goes in to making successful television.
Being a student of history I was especially excited to get a sneak preview of four of the “30 for 30” documentaries in development by the ESPN Films division. The series begins this fall and has the potential for greatness.
I welcomed the chance to chat with ESPN talent and staff to get a better feel about the work they do, something that in my role as a blogger I might not have had the opportunity to do if I had not attended the workshop.
The most important part of the ESPN Media Workshop for me were the contacts made inside and outside the network which, I hope, will make what we do here at Sports Media Journal more worthwhile to you, our readers.