ESPN Starts Truckin Along


ESPN is the latest cable network to rev up a big truck as a traveling promotional vehicle.

Director of affiliate marketing and promotions E.J. Conlin said last week that the network plans to hit the road in August with what's being referred to internally as "ESPN: The Truck" and "The ESPN Brand on Wheels."

The 53-foot-long tractor-trailer will bow in San Francisco, where the "Summer X Games" will take place Aug. 17 through 22, she said. No affiliate linkups are set yet.

After that, the vehicle will travel to probably 30 markets during its first year, she said. "We're gauging affiliate interest right now and putting together a tour," details of which won't be finalized until June at the earliest, she added.

Conlin's department is also working with ESPN's network and affiliate ad-sales forces on prospective national and local sponsors.

Conlin said the mobile unit will contain: a replica of the SportsCenter anchor desk, at which consumers can sit and get souvenir videotapes of themselves; monitors on which consumers can, while seated on "ESPN Sports Bar" stools, watch live feeds of the various ESPN networks; and "touch screens" that will allow sports fans to relive historic sports moments, via ESPN's "Classic Moments" and ESPN Classic's Sports-Century clips.

Consumers also may have their photos taken and superimposed on a cover of ESPN-The Magazine.

Participating affiliates will be given the opportunity to showcase their cable modems and other new products and services inside the truck, she added.

Country Music Television and Black Entertainment Television are other networks that travel the country and draw affiliate tie-ins with their own big trucks.