ESPN Wide World Of Sports

Strategy & Positioning, Messaging, Campaign Creation & Development, Adaptable Creative, Copywriting, Website & Voice Development

The Challenge

When ESPN’s 220-acre athletic complex was acquired by the Walt Disney World Resort, the two corporations had their own brand marketing companies, but wanted to reach out to a third party to bridge the gap. With nine different sporting venues, Disney now owned one of the largest sports centers in the U.S., and finding a way to merge the bold aesthetic of ESPN into Disney’s whimsical style would be no small task. Walt Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports, or WWoS, is a world-class sporting facility. Through a highly strategic process that included brand hierarchy development, audience insights, on-site messaging, consulting, and campaign development, our team strengthened the WWoS brand, communicated more clearly with WWoS audiences, increased revenues, and brought the magic of Disney to WWoS.

Our Approach

As the combined entity’s branding agency, we established a logo for the general brand before building out each sub-brand to produce a cohesive family of brands. While designing every aspect of this new visual identity, our team generated an in-depth corporate style guide to define the brand and its proper application. Our branding leveraged the athletic credibility of ESPN with the optimism and magic of Disney. The strategy for WWoS had five functional pillars designed to support these two world-class brands:

• Clearly defining the WWoS brand and usage
• Creating a brand hierarchy to encompass every entity involved with WWoS
• Integrating the Disney brand into WWoS
• Coordinating design efforts to support the branding initiative
• Providing materials to properly communicate on behalf of WWoS

Results

Thrilled to have the opportunity to work with two iconic brands, we delivered numerous logo variations for each venue and Disney-sponsored event along with a detailed corporate style guide. We’re proud to have played a role in establishing the new visual identity of Walt Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Creative Obstacles to Overcome

ESPN and Disney are internationally recognized brands, with brand restrictions and constraints in place to maintain the world-class status they’ve earned. From Disney’s design acumen to ESPN’s strong personality, melding these distinct brands called for a deep dive into each parent brand.

Additionally, WWoS works with many third-party entities, like the AAU, and a wide variety of travel partners. Promotional material used by those parties is multi-branded, so our work needed to be flexible enough for third-party integration, while remaining simple and clear for reliable usage.

As we provided our branding agency services, we had to pay attention to the legalities as well. With restrictions and requirements coming in from every direction, reviewing materials from both stylistic and legal perspectives became an all-hands-on-deck activity.

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Building the Brand

As the branding agency for Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, we melded the bold personality of ESPN and the whimsical nature of Disney. This called for incredible foresight and attention to detail, as we worked to anticipate every instance where brand modification might be necessary. Crafting, clarifying, and sharing each guideline took an in-depth understanding of both brands as well as their target markets. Once the team began researching these brands, we discovered that they aren’t as different as they seem. ESPN and Disney are both about family entertainment. Our team tapped into that penchant for bringing families together to forge a strong connection between the two brands.

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Setting the Usage Guardrails

Faced with many unique brands and potential uses, we needed to outline the usage guidelines for each. This included rules for modifications, pattern matching, color schemes, and spacing. In the end, we compiled them all into a comprehensive brand guide that now serves as a go-to resource for anyone using the branding.

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