Espn, the bastion of Disney to change Mickey Mouse for world sport

Espn has become in recent decades one of the largest branches of the Disney business. The sports channel platform, which was acquired by the company in 1996 by $19 billionculminated the entry of the audiovisual giant in sports.

The Walt Disney Company, which was born in 1923 to produce short animated comedy films, had in the 1990s subdivisions in television, theme parks, media and 73% of National Geographic. Along the way, there were masterpieces of entertainment such as The Lady and the Tramp (1955), 101 Dalmatians (1961) or Snow White (1937).

ESPN, meanwhile, was founded in 1979 by Bill Rasmussen and Scott Rasmussen, generating huge doubts about the economic viability of a channel exclusively dedicated to sports, something unprecedented to date. When the Anheuser-Busch beer brand paid a million euros to become a sponsor. Not only was a television giant born, but also a new business idea.

Since then, the company based in Bristol (Connecticut, United States) has been increasing its offensive for the conquest of the sports cake, until reaching the broadcast in more than 200 countries and have regional channels with their own programming in Australia, Latin America, the Netherlands, Canada and the United Kingdom.

With the passing of the years, Espn was adding new channels to its offer. In 1993 Espn2 came to light, dedicated to young audiences; in 1996 Espn News appeared, which transmits sports news; in 1998 Espn Classic was born, aimed at documentaries and classic events; in 2004 Espn Deportes appeared, the Spanish-language channel and, finally, in 2005 Disney launched itself to conquer university sports with the appearance of Espnu.

In addition, the company has had a presence on the airwaves since 1992, when it launched the Espn Radio channel, and on the Internet, since it launched its website in 1993. In 2018, the company continued diversifying its way of offering content and launched a service of streaming over the top (OTT)which complemented the television channels under the name of Espn +.

Nowadays, Disney owns 80% of the capital of Espn, while the communication giant Hearst Communications has the remaining 20%.. The channel group has been led by John Skipper since 2012, who is also the vice president of the Disney Media division.

Since its inception, the operator has become strong in sports with the rights to major American competitions. Espn broadcasts the National Football League (NFL) since 1987, Major League Baseball (MLB) since 1990, the National Basketball Association (NBA) since 2002 or the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1979 to 2004 and from 2021 to the present.

It also has the rights of Major League Soccer (MLS), the Uefa Champions League, LaLiga, the Bundesliga, the Fifa World Cup, Wimbledon, the United States Open, the PGA Tour, La Vuelta or the Club Association. of Basketball (ACB).

After the company’s revenue fell 19% in the year of Covid-19, Disney drew up a plan to spend $38 billion on media rights. As part of the plan, the giant took over the rights to Spanish soccer in the United States until the 2028-2029 season for 1,400 million dollars and with the retransmission of the MLB for eight years for 5,600 million dollars. Finally, the company broke the bank announcing a ten-year deal with the National Football League (NFL) for $27 billion.

Some of Espn’s investment has also gone into monopolizing American college sports.. In 2021, the network reached an agreement with Sec Football, the competition that governs American university sports, for ten seasons in exchange for 3,000 million dollars, while paying 5,250 million dollars for university basketball for a decade. Furthermore, on its platform streaming Disney+, which launched in 2019, the company has produced numerous documentaries dedicated to sports, such as Galactics (2021) or Man in the Arena: Tom Brady (2021).

In 2021, Espn entered 4,000 million dollars, registering the company’s billing record. Despite this, the company has lost eight million subscribers, remaining with 75 million users, due to the rise in subscription prices.

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Espn, the bastion of Disney to change Mickey Mouse for world sport