November 26, 2016
Television networks become a way of life when they appeal to the average person’s everyday life. People will wake up early in the morning to catch their favorite show, or take time out of their day to make sure they are in front of the television watching their favorite station. Sarah Banet-Weiser mentions the reason for this type of activity in her book, called The Nickelodeon Brand: Buying and Selling the Audience. She explains that these networks like Nickelodeon attract people through an emotional response, making it seem like what the networks offer is essential to people’s lifestyles (p.82). By doing this, people do not feel as if they are trying to be sold something, but instead are apart of something. ESPN is a unique network that can reach a huge and diverse audience because the experience it provides is bigger than the sports it covers.
ESPN gives people a great experience when watching the network, and one of the first things one may notice are the type of women on the television screen. This is could be described as an example of scopophilia, which means the sexual pleasure of looking at beautiful things. In this case, the beautiful aspect that ESPN gives us is the broadcasters who are very attractive to the male eye. Examples of this are Erin Andrews, Doris Burke, and Sam Ponder. Another experience one receives from ESPN is sports coverage. On this network, amateur to college sports are aired, but the professional sports are only covered. This still gives the viewer a great experience. When ESPN does coverage of games, they are either giving you play-by-play broadcasting or, at the professional level, they are giving you scores and statistics, all of which make the viewers’ experience better. Another branding strategy by ESPN through the viewers experience is the humor they have while doing the shows. There is a segment on there called “Shaqtin’ a Fool” that was made by the former NBA player Shaquille O’Neal. This is not aired on the network, but is referenced by ESPN because the sports they cover can be featured on this segment that brings humor to the network. This usually involves an athlete tripping over his or her own feet, missing a shot that was nowhere close to going in, or just something so outrageous people watching knows it will definitely be a contender on “Shaqtin’ a Fool.” Through a viewer’s experience, ESPN is able to brand their network at a high level, and they can also do this through demographics.
Knowing the demographics a network should appeal to is a key component when it comes to branding. For example, an obvious demographic that ESPN appeals to are athletes of all levels. The airing of ESPN involves athletes from the amateur level to the collegiate level, and this means there will be a large amount of viewers from this demographic. Another demographic ESPN appeals to are people of black and white ethnicities. There is not a lot of diversity from other races on this network, unless the network makes a small amount of TV time for an international sport. This network markets to a male audience, judging by the lack of coverage of female sports found on their network. However, ESPN is appealing enough that some of their viewers are casual sport watchers. This network does such great job of branding that people who are not diehard sport fans would be interested in watching their network. By giving an all-inclusive experience ESPN appeals to many different demographics.
ESPN stands for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network and even if people are watching this network and are unsure what the name is, they still receive everything that the name promises, “ Entertainment and sports”. What many do not know about this network is that Disney also owns it (ESPN). When majority of people think about Disney they think about kids and teen shows, and not sports and entertainment. However, this is important because if they are providing entertainment through cartoons why not expand the branding and provide entertainment into the sports world. ESPN is an example by good branding on Disney’s behalf because it is arguable that everyone with a televisions scrolls past a sports network. ESPN is also a network that can bring everyone together no matter the political situation, which has been a big deal over the past decade. No matter what is going on in the world, a network like ESPN is never eliminated.
Branding can be applied to many aspects of ones life. When people think of branding it is common that the first thought is of themselves and how it applies to them personally. Everything one can apply to themselves however, can be used fro just about any other company, object, or just about anything with a pulse. In the case above it was the networking company ESPN who when branding made their network appealing bigger than what they were actually offering. They were able to do this through their significance, experience, and demographics.
Banet-Weiser, S. (2007). Kids rule!: Nickelodeon and consumer citizenship. Durham: Duke University Press.
ESPN. (2014, January 14). ESPNRadio FAQ page. Retrieved November 26, 2016, from http://www.espn.com/espnradio/story/_/page/radiofaq
O’Neal, S. (n.d.). Shaqtin’ A Fool – NBA.com. Retrieved November 26, 2016, from http://www.nba.com/fool