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espnW.com Launches

ESPN is taking aim at the female demographic with its launch of espnW.com, which is laid out more like a blog, offering stories about both men’s and women’s sports, as well as items on topics such as training and running. Nike and Gatorade are the launch partners for espnW.com.

espnW.com vice president Laura Gentile told Silicon Alley Insider Olympic Games coverage will be important for the site, adding:

That’s the gold standard for women. You connect on an emotional level learning about people you never had an interest in and someone you do care about.

Deadspin contributor Katie Baker weighed in on espnW.com, as well, telling Silicon Alley Insider:

I’m kind of in the “I don’t see the harm” camp. ESPN has so many tentacles that it doesn’t seem like a big deal that they’d have a dedicated women’s site. It’s just a Web site at this point. And I actually do think that they could leverage social networking in ways that don’t exist on ESPN proper if they thought about it the right way. (If they’re using anything close to the existing comment/social-networking infrastructure that’s in place on regular ESPN.com, it’s going to be a huge failure. That place is where enlightened sub-conversation goes to die.)

A lot of the criticism I’ve read uses the term ghetto — sometimes more specifically “pink ghetto” — to describe the site. I think that’s being rash. If anything, it’s more like the balkanization of ESPN that has already been in motion what with all the hyperlocal sites they’ve been launching. No one made a huge deal when they launched ESPN New York or called that a ghetto. The site caters to a niche and is both a complement and supplement to ESPN. I don’t see why a women’s site couldn’t exist in a similar way.

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