The influencer marketing industry continues to attract a wide variety of creators and businesses, signifying its long-term success in wider marketing circles. Data has shown that marketers believe that influencer-generated content receives an average of 8x more engagement than standard branded content. Nowadays, some of the most iconic businesses in the world are pulling upon creators to help them promote their content to a variety of untapped markets. As such, Netinfluencer will explore the latest updates from the ESPN Creator Network.
Who Is ESPN?
First launched in 1979, ESPN is one of the largest multimedia sports entertainment brands in the United States. The corporation mainly focuses on presenting live events such as UFC matches, NHL games, as well as a plethora of college sports. The business has six main entities including eight US cable networks, a streaming platform, as well as hosting a range of competitions such as X Games.
In 1984, the platform was purchased by ABC, a popular subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company. The network now owns around 80% of ESPN with Hearst holding the remaining 20%. In 2021, ESPN was worth around $14.22 million, with that figure expected to increase as the years go on.
The company is still seeing grand success, stating its best first quarter viewership in five years back in March 2022. The network expresses that it saw a 40% increase in primetime viewing, bringing the total number up to 2.068 million viewers from 8 am-7 pm ET.
What Is the ESPN Creator Network?
In September 2022, ESPN announced the release of its own creator network, allowing developing influencers to gain access to a wide range of its intellectual properties. The ESPN Creator Network is expected to launch in October 2022 and is making use of just 10 influencers in its initial run.
The corporation is focusing mainly on TikTok, encouraging popular influencers to produce an abundance of short-form content that will promote the brand as well as attract new audiences. ESPN has also announced that it is teaming up with social-led content agency Blue Hour Studios to recruit some of the finest creators on the market.
The project is expected to run for just four months, giving ESPN enough time to experiment with the features found on TikTok and use them to their best abilities. The brand is also seeing growth across its other social media platforms, amassing 23.8 million followers on Instagram.
Why Have They Established This Program?
It is believed that ESPN is launching a creator network in order to break into the lucrative market of Gen Z. A study from National Media Spots denotes that the median age range of ESPN viewers is 48, with 76% of these viewers identifying as male. This study also expresses that just 26% of 18-34-year-olds tune into the network on a regular basis.
These statistics highlight ESPN’s incredible reach over the mass market but also signifies its lacking attempts to connect with the younger generation. By using a collection of highly-regarded influencers, ESPN has the opportunity to delve into much more profitable segments without the use of traditional advertising.
The ESPN Creator Network also follows in the footsteps of other businesses, who are constantly looking for outside forces to become ambassadors for their brand. This new venture highlights how the business is looking to become more competitive through the use of its many social media networks.
What Will Creators Have Access To?
The influencers taking part in the ESPN Creator Network will be given priority access to a wide range of benefits, helping them to understand the core values of this monumental brand. Creators will be offered a range of educational courses as well as a collection of filming equipment.
It is suspected that these individuals will be asked to travel to various events to help produce content. Thus, ESPN is offering to pay a creator’s expenses for both their travel and tickets. Creators will also be allowed to use ESPN’s assortment of properties, aiding them in building comprehensive and cohesive content.
Despite these benefits, it was announced that ESPN will not financially compensate influencers for their work, leading to a lot of concern around the market. However, ESPN has promised to give these influencers a wide range of creative freedom and will elevate their content as much as possible.
What Does This Mean for Influencer Marketing?
The ESPN Creator Network shows us that more and more conglomerates are using influencers to promote their products and services. This means that influencers now have the chance to become affiliated with much larger brands and can reap the benefits of their success. In addition, this also means that their work is more likely to be seen by other thought-leaders, enabling them to gather a selection of highly sought-after brand opportunities.
The fact that ESPN is focusing solely on TikTok elucidates that the platform is becoming a firm leader in the social media market. It also denotes that short-form content is much more popular with the bustling younger generations. In turn, this is an incredible step forward for influencers on TikTok as it allows them to stand out from other short-form creators and monetize even the smallest pieces of content.
Although many have criticized ESPN for not paying their influencers for their content, the program still offers a variety of favorable benefits. These influencers now have access to training materials from one of the largest entertainment brands in America, giving them a plethora of valuable insight that they may not have received before. Moreover, ESPN is also covering a majority of the creator’s expenses, encouraging them to produce high-quality content without many financial limitations.
The ESPN Creator Network may be in its initial stages but offers a lot of hope and prosperity for the ever-changing nature of influencer marketing. The influencers taking part in this program have the chance to create a collection of premium content and can help this iconic brand to see more success in the sports industry. To discover more about creating your first influencer marketing campaign, visit our website.