ESPNChicago.com only has a counter and a promotional video up, but on Monday, the site will go live for the Chicago Cubs home opener. The sites will be aligned with the expanded ESPNRadio.com and will also have a mobile version as well. The site will be staffed by a mix of former Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times sports reporters and columnists, as well as existing ESPN (NYSE: DIS) staffers. The Disney-owned sports publisher has been very aggressive lately about refining its web presence, including allowing for ad insertions for live college basketball videos streams last month. In January, ESPN.com completed a year-long overhaul of its website, with improved video and search functions.
While ESPN was expected to create other local sites for New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas and Pittsburgh, a rep told paidContent that there are no plans to roll out any other cities beyond Chicago as of right now. Still, one source told us that if the Chicago site is deemed successful, the company will consider establishing other local online outposts where ESPN has radio stations.
By David Kaplan