Greetings BC readers,
I think this is the first “blog” entry I’ve written since I was a student at BC, when creating a blog was homework for a class on the “World Wide Web” and “digital media.” Yes, this was before anyone had ever heard of GroupOn or Twitter, and when Mark Zuckerberg was still just a millionaire.
You might see my title as “Senior Research Analyst” and envision someone resembling Milton from Office Space in a dark room, pounding away at their keyboard with a plastic plant as the only decoration on their desk. Fortunately for me, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. As a lifelong sports fan who grew up with a skin-tone somewhere between afternoon sunburn and the distinct hew of baseball dirt/clay, with a 600 page Baseball Encyclopedia as my bed-time reading… I could certainly have it worse.
So, let me tell you a little about my position at the Worldwide Leader in Sports, and you can decide if you’d like to follow along as I write a few things this week.
At the New York City offices of ESPN, tucked away in the confines of the newly minted “Armory” (I’ll provide a picture soon) on the Upper West Side, reside the illustrious minds of the ESPN Research and Analytics department. Within this collection of industry experts, there are sub-groups that specialize in Audience research (TV ratings, etc), Digital, International (ESPN is the “worldwide” leader after all), Cross Promotional, Ad Sales Research (my prior life), and, of course, my current group – Consumer Insights Research.
My group is tasked with representing the “voice of the fan”, and making sure that everything we do as a company, happens with the interests of fans in mind (it is the company mission statement, after all, to serve the fan). Many of the groups I mentioned above focus on “measurement” – TV ratings, website traffic and time spent, ad impressions, videos viewed, etc. What the Consumer Insights department does is figure out (or try to) the “Why” behind the “Who”, “What”, “Where”, “When”, and “How”. Measurement is a big part of the game, but we try and add that extra “texture” about why our fans are choosing ESPN, or maybe why they’re not.
You may be wondering how we do this. Well, we literally talk to fans, every day, of every month of the year in some form or another. We have studies tracking various aspects of our business all year long that we can tap into for certain insights. In addition, we do custom studies throughout the year, where we conduct focus groups and/or ethnographies, talking directly to fans about things like Fantasy Sports, Monday Night Football, and X Games.
That’s a pretty solid baseline for my position, next time we’ll get into the good stuff. Thanks for reading!