“Jim Williams: ESPN launches Web site for women”, features Gretchen Bleiler and Jessica Mendoza | stanton-company.com

“Jim Williams: ESPN launches Web site for women”, features Gretchen Bleiler and Jessica Mendoza

The ESPN family of networks has been looking at their current audience and how they can expand. Enter Laura Gentile, the vice president of the espnW.com Web site with brand new content and digital business initiatives aimed at women who love sports or simply want to learn more.

The goal is to target women and bring them to the network with some programming that is aimed more to their demographic.

We have been fortunate in this region to have some of the top women in the sports business. Though some of those women in print and broadcasting have still unjustly drawn the ire of some men.

For my 30-plus years in the business, I have had the honor of working with some the best women in sports and I’m sorry to say there is a certain group of men who can’t grasp that there are women who understand and are better at sports reporting than they are.

Gentile was clear that while there are no plans for an ESPNW network, there will be a number of shows generated by the contributors on the Web site that will show up on a number of ESPN networks.

Gentile on how women differ from men when it comes to sports » Women love sports and know sports, but there are angles that we like that men don’t. We love the back story: Where did the player come from? How did they get to the pros? What are they like in real life? Many women do not grow up with brothers and fathers that follow sports or perhaps don’t share their knowledge with them. We want to fill that gap and be there for women who like sports but want more.

Gentile on the network support » From day one we got great support from the top. ESPN/ABC Sports president George Bodenheimer all the way down the line the network is firmly behind our effort. We have also gotten great help from the very talented women that are already part of the ESPN team.

Gentile on the team she has put together for espnW.com » We have a group of very talented women who know sports and are passionate about them but can craft the stories in a way that female fans can better relate to them. Snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, WNBA stars Tamika Catchings and Diana Taurasi, soccer’s Julie Foudy, softball’s Jessica Mendoza and swimmer Summer Sanders are just a few members of our team. We also have from ESPN: Michelle Beadle, Sage Steele, Wendi Nix and Hannah Storm who will be with us throughout the year.

For more on this story, please visit WashingtonExaminer.com

Posted on: December 14, 2010