ESPN Renames ‘’; Killing Its Best Asset?

imageHere’s a move that may antagonise the faithful – owner ESPN (NYSE: DIS) is renaming the site ““. The rugby site was one of the first online in 1997, building up a loyal following and community beside its news, scores and stats before the US sports broadcaster bought it in August 2007.

The rebranding is designed to push the “ESPN” name higher in Europe, with ESPN also due to rename its UK NASN (North American Sports Network) channel “ESPN America” in February. ESPN has made no bones about its hope to win more sports rights on this side of the pond and a unified brand identity could help.

There’s no denying the new lick of paint that has come with the new name is a vast improvement over some of the horror shows has worn over the years, but the name change seems to go against what has always been the site’s USP – it’s eponymous domain name. Should readers of Cricinfo and, which ESPN has also acquired, be similarly concerned?