Mercedes-Benz has partnered with ESPN to create a podcast studio on wheels for what the companies call Sprinter Labs, along with an accompanying video docuseries. The van will travel to college football games throughout the year. The first episode will premiere on September 7.
Mercedes describes the van's outfitting as "the best or nothing." The build starts with a 170-inch wheelbase, all-wheel-drive Sprinter Cargo. ESPN wanted something that could function as a studio and be a place for fan engagement. The interior is understated, with dark lighting, quilted wall fabric, and an illuminated shelf displaying football helmets. Red LED ambient lighting adds to the ambiance.
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz USA teams up with ESPN in brand campaign to launch docuseries Sprinter Labs
Recording duties come courtesy of microphones on a pedestal with swiveling seating for conducting interviews. There's a smart screen and camera system. Wi-Fi equipment allows for broadcasting the shows, and acoustic panels keep things quiet.
The exterior has a predominantly red wrap with the ESPN College Football and Sprinter Labs logos on it. Opening the rear doors reveals a tailgating setup with a grille, refrigerator, and lots of storage. Solar panels are on the roof.
Mercedes intends to make Sprinter Labs a multi-year undertaking. Each season, the company will partner with a brand and build a custom van to match the plans for the project. A four-episode short video series will chronicle the partnership and the vehicle build process.
Mercedes will promote the Sprinter Labs videos throughout social media, including on its YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, X, and LinkedIn pages.
In February 2023, Mercedes unveiled the production version of the eSprinter electric van that's coming to the United States before the end of the year. It's available as a base model with 134 horsepower or a 201-hp configuration. The lithium-iron-phosphate battery has a 113-kilowatt-hour capacity. In Europe's WLTP test, this pack provides 311 miles of driving range. The load area measures 488 cubic feet and can carry up to 9,369 pounds. Inside, the eSprinter comes with the MBUX infotainment system with software for estimating the vehicle's range by considering traffic and topography. Prices start at $74,181 after the destination fee.