ESPN Pitches Chance to Swat Talent


When it comes to helping affiliates sell broadband and other products and services, ESPN wants to play games.

ESPN has slated the interactive "Swat an Anchor Game" as its latest affiliate-marketing tactic. The network suggests affiliates run the online game — loosely based on the carnival favorite "Whack a Mole" — for one month, somewhere within its July 1 through December window.

Vice president of affiliate ad sales and marketing Jeff Siegel said operators can use the game as a landing page on their own Internet site. Just above the game's opening-page "play" button, affiliates can enter their own offer messages in the form of a banner ad.

"This is our first foray into online support for the affiliates," Siegel said, explaining that affiliates have said that the cost of getting subscribers online is "significantly lower" than by other means.

In Swat An Anchor, the mole role is played by animated versions of ESPN's SportsCenter
anchors, who pop up at various spots on the game version of the studio set. When users succeed in whacking an anchor, his catchphrase sounds.

After consumers play the game, they can enter their names and e-mail addresses to learn how they ranked against other players. If they're among the top 25 scorers, they can see their name in the "Swat an Anchor Hall of Fame." If they're among the top five in their market, they can win prizes, Siegel said.

The winners in each market will get an "ESPN Prize Pack," consisting of various premium merchandise.