X Marks the Spotlight for Comcast, ESPN


In what is being billed as an industry first, Comcast Spotlight has signed local ad-sales deals in three markets, tying in an on-demand sweepstakes driving fans interested in ESPN’s X Games to a dedicated Internet micro site.

The pacts give Comcast in-market sponsors exclusivity for the “Win the X-Perience On Demand Sweepstakes,” which will ultimately provide the winner with a trip to Camp Woodward, an alternate-sports facility, and instruction from X Games BMX star Kevin Robinson.

Bob’s Stores in Boston, Medieval Times in Baltimore and the San Francisco Art Academy have bought the packages.

Together, the three sponsors are ponying up more than $1 million for the sweepstakes sponsorship and attendant ad buys to run in local breaks during ESPN’s, ESPN2’s and ABC’s coverage of the 11th iteration of the Summer X Games Aug. 4-8.

Comcast Spotlight vice president of marketing and communications Vicki Lins said the MSO’s ad-sales unit has been pursuing this type of model for around one year.

“Our advertisers have been expressing interest in getting involved with [video-on-demand] and local ad sales. ESPN finally cracked the code,” she added.

Lins said Comcast Spotlight is continuing discussions with other major programmers -- including Discovery Networks U.S., Turner Broadcasting System Inc. and MTV Networks -- about similar local-ad-sales and on-demand combination deals, maybe with some twists.

For more on Comcast Spotlight’s X Games deal with ESPN, please see Mike Reynolds’ story on page five of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.