US sports network ESPN has penned a multi-year global deal with content recommendation platform Outbrain for the placement of native ads on its site. 

The agreement will see related stories accompanying articles on ESPN properties across the world and including the group’s suite of mobile apps. Outbrain is also providing widgets that display ‘trending stories’ as well as ‘informative branded content’ on the sites.

As for ESPN, the group has become the first to use Outbrain’s publisher sales solution to sell inventory across its digital products.

Making headlines 

Founded in 2006, Outbrain has wasted little time in forging lucrative deals with a number of household names in publishing. The company made headlines last year by signing a contract with Time Inc. worth up to $100 million, paid out in instalments for every click driven to Outbrain’s partner sites.

The company also attracted unwanted attention last year regarding labelling for promotions, following advice from the Advertising Standards Authority. Outbrain vowed to change the wording around certain areas of its messaging following a complaint made against a promotion which, according to the ASA, was not identifiable as advertising.

John Kosner, executive vice president of ESPN Digital Media, said the new deal with Outbrain would help his company in its mission to serve sports fans with personalised content. 

Also commenting on the news, Ed Erhardt, ESPN’s president of customer marketing and sales, touched on the financial benefits it would bring. 

“This gives our sales team a new avenue by which to tap into the sponsored content marketplace,” he commented. “We look forward to bringing these solutions to our global customer base.”