How ESPN provides value to advertisers and drives revenue in a competitive sports media landscape


ESPN is a global leader in sports broadcasting with a diverse and global audience, and an especially strong presence in Latin America.

Fast Facts


Media & Entertainment



Customer Experience

Insights professionals


Use case:

Marketing effectiveness

Business Outcome:

Drive revenue growth

De-risk decisions

Business Challenge

The sports media landscape in this region is crowded: ESPN competes with pan-regional TV and digital players, as well as local providers offering specialized content. In this environment, broadcasters are scrambling for a competitive advantage they can use to court advertisers and corporate partnerships.


ESPN’s solution was to launch the Fan Forum, a Vision Critical insight community. The Fan Forum provides ongoing, actionable insight from ESPN audience members.

The Fan Forum has changed the dynamic between ESPN and advertisers. Rather than simply selling “space,” the company is in a position to pursue genuine partnerships with demonstrable ROI. Feedback from the Fan Forum allows ESPN to help advertisers build, test, launch and conduct post-launch analysis. In many cases, the Fan Forum can replace advertisers’ internal studies, which is a significant cost-saving opportunity for partners and a powerful selling proposition for ESPN’s sales team.

The Fan Forum plays an essential role in bridging the gap between ESPN’s Latin American audiences and key internal stakeholders across multiple offices. The insight community humanizes audiences by surfacing stories and insight that highlight their passion, experiences and expectations. For example, during the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 Copa América tournaments, the Fan Forum fostered conversations around digital behavior, studio show content and the cultural importance of each tournament. ESPN’s dedication to Fan Forum members was reinforced by updating them frequently and referencing top matches.

The Fan Forum helps align stakeholders in multiple departments and operating countries. For example, ESPN’s sales team uses the community to help assess the success of strategic partnerships. In addition, Sales is now able to share insight community feedback with partners and further promote a mutually beneficial business arrangement. The company’s programming group used the Forum to explore awareness of ESPN Tres, a new network, throughout Spanish-speaking Latin America. While traditional ratings suggested this new network skewed older, the Fan Forum revealed fans identified the channel as innovative and exciting. The Fan Forum has also proven essential to ESPN’s Marketing Solutions team, which demonstrated to a sponsor of a football documentary program that the sponsor’s association with soccer had grown among viewers.

An insight community connects the company with fans as people, rather than just seeing them as numbers or television ratings. We’re really able to engage with them and show them that we’re listening to what they have to say.

-Dan Hom, Manager, International Research ESPN Research & Analytics

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