A couple weeks ago I got a perplexing email from a rep at Philadelpia’s ESPN Radio affiliate, WPEN-AM. The rep asked me if I was interested in a participating in an online promotion the station was doing with a softcore porn site called girlsofphilly.com (NSFW link).
(Biggest boobs in Phillies gear since Greg Luzinski (or was it Kruk?))
Of course, I wasn’t interested in the idea, and I was somewhat surprised that an ESPN-branded station was involved in such a venture. And according to Dan Gross of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, I wasn’t alone.
Apparently ESPN corporate wasn’t initially aware of the promotion, and the minute the suits in Bristol got wind of the idea they told the Philly station to pull the plug.
IT SEEMS THAT ESPN has put the kibosh on a promotion between its local sports-talk station, 950 ESPN, and GirlsofPhilly.com.
The Web site of local lovelies and the radio station had teamed up on Battle of the Babes, a March Madness bracket-style competition of 64 models from the soft-core site.
950 ESPN’s Mike Missanelli promoted the show on his increasingly popular afternoon show and some tasteful photos of the models were posted on 950espn.com, but after one round of voting, the plug was pulled.
Sources tell us that ESPN corporate intervened and was uncomfortable partnering with a Web site full of topless models, a regular advertiser on 950 AM.
We reached GirlsofPhilly.com founder Kurt Laufer yesterday, who said, “People are such frickin’ prudes. I’m pissed that I wasted two days of my life organizing this promotion. I’m sure their webmaster is upset, too, as he must have dedicated major time to setting up all the brackets.”
I suppose when you look at what the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED swimsuit issue (implied nudity, thongs, body paint) has turned into, you can’t really argue with Laufer’s assessment of at least part of the sports media industry. But for now, it appears ESPN parent Disney isn’t quite as desperate for revenue as Time, Inc.
UPDATE: Josh Krulewitz, ESPN Media Relations Director, on Bristol’s stance: “Full time ESPN Radio affiliates understand that the vaule of being a full time affiliate comes with the responsibility of keeping consistent with the ESPN brand in their local markets.
“It’s part of the arrangement to become full time affiliates. There are times, when we are aware of things that clearly go beyond the guidelines of that arrangement,when we raise those concerns with the affiliate.”
I suppose it kinda sucks the radio station had to drop the promo, but at least it doesn’t have to pay $100,000. (That we know of.)
Here’s some of the non-nude photos from girlsofphilly.com. And like I said, the site is very NSFW, so be careful, cubicle jockeys.