In the wake of its announcement that ESPN will launch local websites in Dallas later this year and in New York and Los Angeles sometime next year, it has been learned that ESPN is buying up domain names with the intent of spreading its local sports sites across the country.
What does this mean for Boston? It means that ESPN is looking at the Hub as well. RadioInsight.com checked and found that ESPN had not just purchased a Boston domain name that had once belonged to 890ESPN, but had bought a series of domain names including ESPN Houston which had belonged to Clear Channel. The list is seen as follows:
In addition, Radio Insight found that CBS is also getting into the local website game with the following domain site purchases:
So with these purchases, both ESPN and CBS see an opportunity to launch a local site and using sports radio, attract visitors and perhaps fill a void where newspapers cannot. In the case of the Globe and Herald, their sports departments are contracting, not expanding.
ESPN’s Chicago site incorporates its local radio station into its website and even integrates the local ABC affiliate as well. Through this multi-faceted marriage, it’s no wonder ESPN has already gained visits in a short amount of time.
While an ESPN Boston site is probably a year away, you can bet the Alleged Worldwide Leader is already planning its launch. With the Globe and Herald on shaky ground and Entercom’s WEEI.com already established and offering unique content, both ESPN and CBS feel that Boston is ripe for the picking. CBS will have had a head start with its launch of its local site in conjunction with WBZ-FM/The Sports Hub, but ESPN has a respected brand name and marketing power.
In the 1970′s and 1980′s, the Globe and Herald had a healthy competition among its sports staffs and readers benefited. It appears the 21st Century competition will be among CBS, Entercom and ESPN joining NESN.com and Comcast SportsNet’s site. May the best website win.