Disney owned broadcast giant, ESPN, will introduce ‘Kidscast’ during the annual Little League World Series next week, with the telecast to feature two 16-year-olds offering commentary in the broadcast booth and two 15-year-old sideline reporters.
ESPN will still offer one traditional telecast on its flagship cable network, but, the other “kidcast” will be geared for the younger crowd on ESPN2.
Mark Gross, ESPN’s senior vice president of production and remote events, said the reporters will mostly be reporting on the state of the cotton candy and ice cream at the refreshments stand as much as they will on any action in the dugout.
“We want it to be geared to kids,” Gross said in an interview.
“We are going to work the sideline reporters for some different things.
“What’s happening on the hill behind centre field? Give us an update on kids sliding down on cardboard boxes, how fast are they going? Give us an update on what’s happening at the concession stand, what are kids and adults eating?”
Mo’ne Davis, the first girl to win a game and pitch a shut out in Little League World Series history, will serve as a special analyst during part of the broadcast.
It’s no secret that ESPN, like other TV mainstays, is pushing back against the ongoing erosion of linear TV viewership and traditional subscriptions to cable and satellite providers.
Those things have provided a steady annual flow of millions of dollars in advertising and affiliate fees to Disney, but now there’s new urgency to find other ways of luring young sports fans to the ESPN fold, which is why the company is experimenting with new methods to keep teenagers tuning in to their games and other shows.