ESPN was supposed to come to YouTube this April, but AdAge now reports that the Connecticut-based sports network will finally arrive on Google's highly popular video portal on July 15. This would be an interesting development by itself, especially given that ESPN is owned by Disney, which just made a major investment in YouTube's competitor Hulu.com, but the really interesting part of this announcement is that ESPN will not only be the first network to offer pre-roll ads on YouTube, but that it will also integrate its own video player on the site.Earlier this year, we heard that
ESPN already has its own YouTube channel, though the videos there are getting a dismally low number of views (generally under 500).
We are not quite sure how, exactly, ESPN will bring its own player to YouTube and whether this means that ESPN will continue to host its content and ads on its own servers. We asked YouTube about the details of this arrangement and will update this post once/if we get an answer.
shied away from doing pre-roll ads on YouTube and argued that they did not perform well on the service, but given the current economic climate and the pressure on YouTube to actually make a profit at some point, it would seem that Disney and ESPN were able to convince YouTube to give pre-roll ads a try.Google has generally