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Summary:

ESPN is seeing huge traffic and engagement from its mobile offerings — enough for the sports giant to think about its design and products from a “mobile-first” perspective. And it is not alone, as we have pointed out many times before.

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“Program and design from the mobile standpoint first, then extrapolate what could be applied for the PC, television and print experience.” – Michael Bayle, VP and general manager of ESPN Mobile

Apparently, for ESPN, mobile is now “the company’s fourth-largest network” and “has 150,000 people plugged into its mobile offerings at any given time” with “users spending 45% more time with ESPN mobile content in 2011 than the prior year,” according to this report in Media Post.

Those numbers are stunning — but not surprising (to me, at the very least). With more than 400 million smartphones expected to be sold, it makes perfect sense for sports to get the mobile bump. I mean, don’t we want the baseball gossip, score updates or results of the F1 race when on the go?

I have been a firm believer that when it comes to design these days, mobile comes first. That thinking was behind the redesign of my blog. Of course, I saw an increase in mobile visits and decided to go the full monty with my blog makeover. It is good to see that “mobile-first” thinking is spreading: Kayak and others are following the mobile-first approach.

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  1. Thomas Vander Wal Monday, January 30, 2012

    This sounds very much like Box’s huge growth for mobile use of their service in this past year.

    1. I am just amazed by the persistent connections to their mobile properties. That is some serious usage.

  2. I don’t think you can underscore how much sports gambling impacts the use of mobile sports content and ultimately ESPN’s mobile first strategy(or near mobile first i guess). Take the offshore mobile web gaming sites and how easy it is to bet every sport on earth, from Premier League to Tennis and in between. This spurs massive use of scoring sites and content. Tabbing back and forth between lines that are moving, NFL prop bets, second half NCAA basketball bets, and ESPN content updates – least of which being pure score updates. Ask the books in Vegas how their world have changed since 2001 and this will give you an indication of mobile growth.

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