ESPN and Monster strike deal

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One of the handful of dot-com companies still with a significant media budget,, has inked an estimated $10 million deal with Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN/ABC Sports sales unit. The agreement gives the job-search site a presence across multiple platforms ranging from a co-branded Web site to ad time on one of ABC Sports' crown jewels: the college football Bowl Championship Series.

The pact allows Monster to create an ESPN/Monster dual-named job-search site for people interested in sports-oriented careers. For Monster, the link with the ESPN brand and provides a gateway to the all-sports network's audience of males ages 18 to 34, many of whom are in college seeking first careers or in the early stages of a career. For ESPN, the site could expand the value of the deal; the network gets a fee for each resume and job opening posted on the site. ESPN/ABC declined to cite details of that payment arrangement.

To further increase visibility among the college set, ESPN and Monster will also operate seminars on how to break into the sports business on college campuses. Monster has agreed to purchase ad time during ESPN broadcasts of college football and basketball games and during the Bowl Championship Series on ABC, which will culminate with the Rose Bowl as the national championship game. And Monster will run ads in the younger-skewing ESPN The Magazine.


"We want to capitalize on the large numbers of college students-both men and women-who are looking for careers in sports," said Peter Blacklow, senior VP marketing at TMP Worldwide's

The oft-criticized TV upfront season may never go away-despite dissatisfaction on both the buying and selling sides-but it may lose some significance if media companies continue to make comprehensive multiplatform deals outside of the annual late spring bazaar like the ESPN/Monster arrangement. Such deals threaten to take money out of a marketer's upfront budget and perhaps reduce the overall dollars forked over during the buying season, though they may ultimately lead to more money flowing into the large media conglomerates that own the TV networks and so many other properties. "As we do deals of this nature we are taking money out of budgets before the upfronts ever break," said Ed Erhardt, president ESPN/ABC Customer Marketing and Sales.

ABC/ESPN has also done similar deals in the last month with VF Corp.'s Lee Jeans and Fujitsu.

Another trend may be the gradual segueing of the TV upfront into a multimedia upfront, where the conglomerates such as Walt Disney Co. increasingly pitch deals packaging their networks with their non-TV outlets each spring in and around the upfront. "We think [the] deal is the prototype for how the new version of the upfront is going to go," Mr. Erhardt said. "We don't see ourselves [selling] a television upfront; we see ourselves as [selling] a multimedia upfront."

Monster has advertised on ESPN before, but not ABC Sports (with the exception of the 2000 Super Bowl), and the latest deal represents a significant increase in spending from the previous arrangement. Monster, along with competitor, has advertised during the last three Super Bowls.

Next winter could mark a watershed for Monster as far as visibility if it follows up ad time during the Rose Bowl with the expected purchase of spots during the Super Bowl on News Corp.'s Fox and the Olympics on General Electric Co.'s NBC network. The company's current campaign carries the message "Job Good. Life Good," but new creative from agency Havas Advertising's Arnold Worldwide, Boston, is expected for the next Super Bowl as Monster has joined the ranks of such Super Bowl advertising heavyweights as Anheuser-Busch and PepsiCo's Pepsi-Cola Co. in prompting intense media and popular interest in the ads they run during the big game.

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