ESPN Pitching Online `Anchor' Game


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

ESPN has slated the interactive "Swat an Anchor Game" as its latest
affiliate-marketing tactic. The network is suggesting that affiliates run the
online game -- loosely based on 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 more than
20 MSOs and operators -- including Cox Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp. --
had expressed interest in Swat an Anchor by Thursday.

Cable operators can use the game as a landing page on their own Internet
sites, where they can also promote customer retention, upgrades to digital
cable, offer three months of free service, or sell new products and services
like ESPN Broadband, high-speed Internet access and the like.

Just above the game's opening-page "Play" button, the affiliate can enter its
offer message in banner form.

In Swat an Anchor, the mole role is played by animated versions of its
SportsCenter talent, who pop up at various spots on the game version of
the studio set. When users succeed in whacking an anchor, his or her catch
phrase sounds.