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SOAPnet is borrowing a leaf from sports sib ESPN, setting up a “fantasy soap league” where fans (women, primarily) can trade characters and…

imageSOAPnet is borrowing a leaf from sports sib ESPN, setting up a “fantasy soap league” where fans (women, primarily) can trade characters and get points for picking the right “defining” soap moments (be held at gunpoint, interrupt a wedding, say “I love you.”) The cost: $9.99 for a renewable 10-week cycle. The Soap Squad — nine “ardent” viewers — keeps track of points on weekdays; participants can change their line-ups over the weekend. Players also get points when their characters make it to the cover of Soap Opera Digest or Soap Opera Weekly or get featured in VCR alerts. SOAPnet is pitching as a way for the network to be involved with fans and with each other. Reuters has more.
ESPN: Over at ESPN, podcasting is the word of the day. The network, which calls itself the “premiere sports podcast provider,” is starting a nationwide local podcasting network stringing together shows from various local ESPN Radio stations and affiliates for distribution via its own ESPN.com Pod Center pr through iTunes. The first phase includes shows from Chicago, New York and Pitsburgh with LA and Dallas to follow. Also near launch — a Spanish-language ESPNdeportes.com PodCenter. ESPN says its current 20-plus podcasts account for “millions” of monthly downloads and that ESPNRadio.com’s live stream averages more than 170,000 listeners a month, according to Ando Media

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