Sportsbiztech

Sports, business & technology

“Endless Drama”: ESPN’s soap opera

endless-drama.jpgYes, a sports network has concocted an actual made-for-TV, er, computer soap opera on www.endlessdrama.com. Sound ambiguous? It’s actually the latest zany advertising campaign for ESPN. And it’s what you get when actors, baseball players and journalists collide in one big, super-duper uber “Endless Drama”…about fantasy baseball picks.

(Fantasy sports, for the uninitiated, are games where competitors choose athletes for a fictional roster, then use their chosen ones’ actual performance statistics throughout the season against other competitors for points and – in ESPN’s case – prizes.)

It’s wacky, it’s weird and it works. The Web site includes a trailer and four episodes (more are on the way) involving the usual soap opera plotlines of infidelity, betrayal and deceit, but in the context of mano-a-mano fantasy baseball combat with such lines as, “Don’t…trade…Prince…Fielder!!!” (Cue dramatic music, followed by horrified, drawn-out scream.)

ESPN press contact Alison Lazar told Sportsbiztech that the campaign, which launched Monday, was helmed by Boston-based advertising agency Arnold Worldwide. “One Life to Live” executive producer Frank Valentini directed and shot the episodes in New York on his actual set. Not surprisingly, the cast includes four actors from Valentini’s own show. Others include Cameron Mathison and Rebecca Budig from “All My Children;” ESPN’s own sports journos such as Buster Olney (ESPN The Magazine); and – the best part – baseball players Torii Hunter, Chase Utley, Jorge Posada and Hanley Ramirez. Posada’s wife even has a role, but in the series she’s not married to the Yankees catcher. Her character, Flora, is disclosing her fiancé Paulo’s fantasy picks to her boss, with whom she is having an affair, but she secretly pines for Jorge Posada’s character appropriately named Jorge. Will they end up together by the season finale?

Always known for its creative advertising campaigns, ESPN said that it “partnered with ABC Daytime and incorporated soap actors into the spots to bring some added “drama” to the commercials, since there is a shared “passion” between sports fans and soap fans.” Lazar says it’s too soon to check out the Web analytics to see if more visitors are registering for ESPN.com’s fantasy baseball leagues compared to last year. No matter. Whether you are a baseball fan or not, it’s definitely worth watching the series and sending “smack videos” while munching on an (evil) egg salad sandwich…

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March 8, 2008 - Posted by | advertising, baseball, Web sites | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] journalists collide in one big, super-duper uber ???Endless Drama?????about fantasy baseball picks.https://sportsbiztech.wordpress.com/2008/03/08/%e2%80%9cendless-drama%e2%80%9d-espn%e2%80%99s-soap-op…SuperDuper!SuperDuper is the wildly acclaimed program that makes recovery painless, because it makes […]

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