ESPN’s Big Market Sports Sites Light on Local Ads

Think ESPN focuses too much on big market teams now? Well, in keeping with its Chicago-centric site, the firm now plans to launch sites dedicated to sports in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas — you know, those places where fans already have umpteen choices of media outlets covering their hometown teams.

Dallas comes first, this fall, just in time for Dallas Cowboys football (be prepared for the Jessica Simpson photo hunt game). That will be followed by LA and NY early next year (too bad no one follows the Lakers or Knicks).

“Like, each site will feature an integrated home for ESPN’s news and information, online video and digital audio powered by the flagship ESPN Radio station in each market, giving local fans a destination for their sports on-air, online, on-site and on mobile devices,” noted the press release.

Perhaps because the Cubs, Bulls, and Bears draw fans from across the country and globe, it makes sense that ads on aren’t necessarily targeted to windy city residents. Case in point: the New York-aimed Stub Hub ad I just saw there. Indeed, I’d be surprised if ESPN bothers to sell to local advertisers through these sites. They basically enable more ad inventory for national advertisers and serve to boost SEO for content dedicated to popular teams.

And the least they could do is offer a video featuring Carlos Zambrano attacking the Gatorade cooler in their meager Cubs video section.

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