ESPN hopes Rise will score with young fans

ESPN is re-branding recent acquisition Rise magazine for a September re-launch.

The high school sports magazine, which ESPN acquired alongside sister publications Girl, Gridiron and Hardwood in December 2007, will relaunch as ESPN RISE, with added content and editorial sections from ESPN’s staff. A new Web site is also in the works, and the magazine will boost its circulation from 910,000 to 1 million.

“We’ll definitely go to some new areas that high school sports are big in,” said James Brown, SVP of the ESPN Rise group. “That could be a big market for volleyball or football or hockey or what have you, so we’re looking at areas where we may lack coverage but where a particular sport is really popular.” 

Company executives are hoping that the new ESPN RISE will bring more 12-17-year-olds to the ESPN audience at large. RISE is distributed for free through high school sports programs around the country, forming a direct line to that target demographic. ESPN shows like SportsCenter and ESPNEWS will work as cross-promotional tools for the magazines, highlighting high school sports during broadcasts.

As part of its brand-building effort for Rise, ESPN is launching a new Web site — — in August. Social networking and community applications will feature heavily on the site, along with content from, Scouts Inc., and The magazine will also benefit from event marketing, such as the Boost Mobile Elite 24 basketball tournament on August 22.

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