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Monday, September 8, 2014

ESPN: The Beginning

ESPN, originally known as the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, started life in 1979, funded by the Getty Oil Company. Starting out with its signature program SportsCenter, ESPN was not initially successful. An emergency investment from Anheuser Busch, which saw the channel as eventually producing a ton of opportunities for beer drinkers to drink its beers, brought the network back from the brink of insolvency. By 1984, the channel was on solid footing and attracted the eye of ABC. However, at the time, cable channels could not be fully owned by a television network, so ABC teamed up with Nabisco (later bought out by Hearst Television) to skirt the rules. ESPN became a part of ABC, which was officially brought into the Disney family in 1995. Current estimates value ESPN alone as being worth more to Disney than the entire purchase cost of ABC. An amazing escalation in value as Disney has built ESPN into the most valuable cable channel and sports brand in the world,