ESPN’s new blog, espnW, rolls out today with the aim of bringing more women — and the advertisers who want to reach them — to is expansive network of sites. The sports franchise is calling today’s launch phase one, with the second part coming in the spring with a larger website and the ability for users to customize it according to their specific interests.
The site has been in the works for about two years. While espnW will rely on contributions from such as bloggers like TheFootballGirl.com’s Melissa Jacobs and ESPN’s local writers such as the New York site’s Jane McManus (ESPNNewYork.com) and ESPN (NYSE: DIS) Chicago’s Sarah Spain, personalities from its TV side like Julie Foudy will also be populating the site.
When the idea was introduced in October, ESPN’s Laura Gentile, VP espnW and ESPN Rise digital and publishing, told USA Today ESPN previously said that the site, in addition to getting a boost next spring, could one day become a TV channel.
While there are a lot of sites for female athletes, most of the major publishers haven’t really made a substantial effort to put coverage of women sports front and center. So espnW certainly fills a gap. That said, not everyone has been cheering the announcement. JulieDiCaro, writing in ChicagoNow two months ago, said that she felt insulted that women’s sports coverage needed its own special site outside of the main ESPN channel. Instead, she’d rather see more focus on female athletes on ESPN proper, which she argued would draw more women to the channel and its related websites. Release