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Driving subscription sales for live and on-demand streaming service, ESPN Player

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ESPN logo


Driving subscription sales for live and on-demand streaming service, ESPN Player

WePlay is a Growth Marketing Partner for the global leader in sports and entertainment, ESPN. Our main remit is the ESPN Player, where our brief is to drive subscription sales for the SVOD product.

This remit covers four areas:

  • Increasing awareness
  • Acquiring subscriptions
  • Driving downloads
  • Reducing churn

Our campaigns promote the full catalogue of ESPN Player’s content, to grow revenues and generate year-on-year subscriber growth, aligned with monthly targets determined by the live rights and on-demand content release schedule.

As ESPN Player broadcasts a variety of live sports, audiences tend to behave in a seasonal pattern. Many fans subscribe before their preferred sports season begins – but unsubscribe once it ends.

This is a consistent trend across the subscriptions, live rights and OTT landscape, given that major sports leagues have a fixed start and end date. That means there is a short window when the platform is most valuable for specific fans.

Our search and programmatic campaigns therefore need to be highly targeted to each sports season and fan depending on the time of year.

To solve this, we employed advanced planning and strategy development, alongside our own proprietary data, to create the perfect platform for campaign expansion and growth for ESPN Player.

We used a data-led approach to pivot and plan campaigns based on current sports seasons, promoting content that would actively drive engagement for our target audience. This strategy ensured that ESPN Player would capitalise on relevance and demonstrate immediate value to prospects.

Our Creative Studio developed customised assets for each sports season, which helped ensure campaigns were optimised. The work included assets for individual high-profile games, which were promoted alongside key search terms immediately before the events took place.

During periods without premium live rights, we implemented a strategy to promote the depth of archive content on the platform – attracting new subscribers and mitigating churn.

Our strategy has enabled us to deploy learnings throughout the partnership, which has led to incredibly successful performance, including significant reductions to the CPA for a new subscriber as well an increase in year-on-year subscribers.


Decease in CPA of a new subscriber


Overdelivery versus forecast


Increase in year-on-year subs (2021-2022)