Eventually, There'll Be an ESPN Cleveland

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ESPN rolled out ESPNChicago last year, a site dedicated solely to all things Windy City sports related. It seemed pretty obvious from the start that along with stockpiling city/team/dvision-specific bloggers, ESPN was going to go after the local sports markets around America. Chicago was an obvious test case: Lots of teams, lots of fans, etc.

Now, according to a couple of stories this morning, ESPN is branching out to three new cities for its hyperlocal sports coverage: Dallas, LA, and New York:

Now, after a promising test run in Chicago, ESPN is adding local offshoots to three more cities. On Monday, ESPN, which is owned by the Walt Disney Company, plans to announce local Web sites in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas — in what executives say is only the “first inning” of their effort to provide hyperlocal sports coverage in cities across the country.

“We look at this as a perfect example of offering a better product,” said George W. Bodenheimer, co-chairman of Disney Media Networks.

According to the story, ESPN Chicago now has more unique visitors than the Tribune's sports section.

This isn't to say ESPN Cleveland is coming any time soon — there are any number of cities with larger populations and more teams that would deserve ESPN's attention before the Forest City. But, it'll probably happen someday if this train continues. What that would mean for local bloggers, the Plain Dealer, and the Beacon journal is too far away to even predict, but intriguing to consider.

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