ESPN has launched the first phase of a dedicated digital initiative covering women's sports.
In what the programmer describes as the 1.0 version, EESPNW.com, aiming at fans and athletes 18+, bowed today in blog format The site, supported by a Twitter and Facebook presence, will incorporate posts by top female sports columnists and bloggers, pro athletes, expert contributors and news from a variety of ESPN and non-ESPN news outlets. The launch serves as a precursor to a more robust Web site with mobile applications and personalized content, slated to bow next spring.
"ESPNW.com represents our commitment to serving female fans and athletes on a dedicated platform. After more than two years of research and preparation, we are excited to create a specific community for women to talk sports and be inspired both as a fan and as a participant," said Laura Gentile, vice president of ESPNW and ESPN Rise digital and publishing, in a statement. "We are bringing together top athletes, writers and newsmakers in a way that is authentic to ESPN but will be unique to espnW's audience."
Contributors such as Adena Andrews (formerly NBA.com), Melissa Jacobs (TheFootballGirl.com), Jane McManus (ESPNNewYork.com), Amanda Rykoff (OCDChick.com) and Sarah Spain (ESPNChicago.com) will write daily posts offering insight on the day's biggest sports stories across the entire sports landscape - encompassing men's and women's sports. Guest contributors such as Val Ackerman, Gretchen Bleiler, Tamika Catchings, Julie Foudy, Jessica Mendoza, Summer Sanders and Diana Taurasi will weigh in on a variety of issues as will ESPN's own Michelle Beadle, Sage Steele, Wendi Nix and Hannah Storm. Special posts will be made throughout the year by Jemele Hill.
Additional features on the site include: "What Matters": links to top stories curated from ESPN.com and around the Web; "Games We're Following": contests from across the sports landscape, including the NFL, NBA, college sports, WNBA, WPS, WTA and others, with editorial comment from the espnW perspective; "This Week in Women's Sports": a key moment or event each week from sports history; and "Things To Do Near You": a geo-based sport and activity guide, powered by Active.com, for athletes
Commercially, ESPNW.com will provide content for athletes from Gatorade (exclusive sports nutrition partner) and Nike (exclusive apparel and footwear partner).The two companies will have a multi-layered presence in the spring rollout of espnW.com. Additional partners that will provide content to espnW.com include Active.com (for active, athletic women), WomenTalkSports.com (focused on women's sports news and commentary), GoTribal.com (focused on endurance sports for women), and The Women's Sports Foundation (espnW's official charity).