A look at one of the former ESPN recruiting sites.
ESPN is once again abandoning efforts to penetrate the highly specialized and competitive college recruiting subscription space.
Back in 2011, ESPN made a lot of noise by announcing they were joining the likes of Rivals, Scout, and 24/7 with their own offering of sites. Just two years later ESPN has pulled the plug, letting go of editorial staff as well as essentially debranding these now defunct sites and replacing them with generic tagged blog content that can be found elsewhere on ESPN.com.
Message boards, a key engagement point and traffic driver for recruiting sites, have been removed. At ESPN they were what I termed "digital ghost towns" with little activity.
For those wanting a quick history lesson, ESPN has had various opportunities and attempts to gain market share in the recruiting subscription industry, all of which have failed with very little success along the way.
I've always been interested and even highly skeptical and cynical of ESPN's continued efforts here. They're more than a decade late behind Scout and Rivals and historically have felt they can carve out some audience and revenue with little expertise, support, and differentiation. The basic rationale has always been "Well we're ESPN, THE worldwide leader in sports, so just our logo on a site and everything is going to be gangbusters!"
This now leaves Fox owned Scout, Yahoo owned Rivals, and upstart 24/7 going forward as pay services for recruiting news. We're hearing Scout will not be pursuing their platform and rebranding initiative to Fox Sports Next that had to be rolled back last fall in the foreseeable future.
Prior to ESPN's push in 2011, they explored partnerships with 24/7 ahead of their launch in 2010 although a partnership never came to fruition. Given 24/7 has steadily been climbing in terms of traffic metrics and subscriptions, suffice to say ESPN probably would have been better off partnering rather than trying to build on their own.
Will ESPN take another crack at on their own or perhaps will they look to purchase 24/7 or another upstart? Either way it's a rather large void for ESPN, who is typically strong across all the various content and business initiatives they opt to compete in.
They need a partnership with 247, because buying it will only lead 247 to go the way of rivals (i.e. downhill.)
@awfulannouncing Al Michaels summarized Baltimore's TD drive by saying "It took'em ten plays. Three runs, seven rushes." Thanks Al.
@awfulannouncing Now we can hope they will also get out of the commitment press conference space...
All recruiting sites are pretty much unwarranted hype. The noticeable problem with this type of site - they spend to much time on 3-4-5 star players which gives about 25 division one teams 90% of these sites time. I for one think the NCAA should require equal time for all D-1 teams. Let the sports broadcasting channels do the reporting. This helps big time the 25 teams to gobble up 85% of the 345 star players. And it shows year after year. Parity is really lost in the hype.
@ParagonSC ESPN killed thriving WeAreSC community, what a waste
@dalebright You going to the game on Saturday?
@jbook37 that is awesome. They are the worst! I'm wondering who will take over the NSD coverage.
@meansonny that's incorrect. That's just a partnership and not an ownership relationship. 24/7 is still independent.
@Zacal Equal time? What is this, politics? No one cares what Central Florida is doing. The teams that gobble up the athletes are the teams that get the press. Not the other way around. Has ALWAYS been the case.
@DubbleE1 No, wish I were going.