- ESPN, Inc. is the leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment entity featuring the broadest portfolio of multimedia sports assets with over 50 business entities.
- Based in Bristol, Conn., with approximately 4,000 employees (approximately 8,000 worldwide) ESPN Plaza includes nearly 1.2 million square feet in 18 buildings on 123 acres (additional 500,000 sq. ft. rented nearby).
- ESPN launched on September 7, 1979, and is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. Hearst holds a 20 percent interest. ESPN was originally conceived in 1978 and office space was rented in Plainville, Conn., before the Bristol property was purchased and developed.
- In the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2018, ESPN presented 23,542 live events and 64,056 total live hours of studio and event programming – TV and digital combined .
- ESPN’s 2018 in review: http://bit.ly/2CrPtbz
- Jimmy Pitaro was named ESPN’s eighth president in March 2018.
|PRIMARY BUSINESS ENTITIES|
|U.S. Television Networks||ESPN on ABC (Broadcast), eight U.S. Cable Networks (five with high-definition simulcast services)|
|Direct to Consumer||ESPN+, launched April 2018, with thousands of live events, original programs and on-demand content|
|Audio||ESPN Radio Network, owned and operated stations in three major markets, podcasts and ESPN Deportes Radio|
|Digital||ESPN.com; ESPN3; ESPN Fantasy Sports; espnW, ESPNDeportes.com; TheUndefeated.com; market-, college- and sport-specific sites; and more|
|International||Reaching 61 countries and territories across all seven continents, businesses include TV (26 networks and syndication), radio, print, digital, consumer products, and event management|
|Publishing||ESPN The Magazine|
|Event Management||X Games, ESPYs, college bowls & basketball events|
- ESPN on ABC (Broadcast)
- Eight Domestic Cable Networks: ESPN (launched in 1979, ESPN HD launched in 2003); ESPN2 (1993, ESPN2 HD launched in 2005); ESPNEWS (1996, ESPNEWS HD in 2008); ESPNU (2005, ESPNU HD in 2008); ESPN Classic (purchased in 1997); Spanish-language ESPN Deportes (2004, ESPN Deportes HD in 2011), the regionally focused Longhorn Network (2011) and the SEC Network (August 2014). The ACC Network launches in 2019.
Key U.S. Programming
- SportsCenter — Debuting on ESPN’s launch day (September 7, 1979), ESPN’s first and flagship show defines the sports news genre. It offers breaking news, highlights, features and in-depth analysis from award-winning journalists. Viewership: averages up to 115 million viewers a month.
- NFL’s Monday Night Football; MLB; NBA (The Finals on ABC); college football including the College Football Playoff; men’s and women’s college basketball, including the women’s NCAA Tournament; tennis’ Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open, all start to finish; The Masters; WNBA; Little League World Series; more.
- Daily and weekly sport-specific studio shows for NFL, MLB, NBA and college football and basketball.
- Critically acclaimed and award-winning documentaries and original programming including the “30 for 30” films.
ESPN Plaza & Other Production Facilities
- ESPN Headquarters in Bristol, Conn., is home to one of the world’s largest and technologically advanced TV production facilities. Digital Center-1 (2004) and Digital Center-2 (2014) total more than 400,000 square feet. They serve as home for SportsCenter, NFL programming, First Take and more. Overall, ESPN Plaza is home to 19 buildings on 120 acres and 1.3 million square feet of office/production space.
- ESPN’s Los Angeles Production Center (LAPC) went online in 2009 in the LA LIVE entertainment/retail complex. The 129,000-square foot facility has two studios and produces programming for ESPN’s U.S. networks, including the late-night SportsCenter, SportsNation, NBA Countdown (control room) and select ESPN Deportes shows.
- In April 2018, a new facility at New York’s South Street Seaport overlooking the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge went online. With two studios (connected to control rooms at other locations), it is home to the new weekday Get Up!, NBA Countdown and more (TV, radio, podcasts). The 21,000-square-foot space is supplemented by a huge rooftop platform that can accommodate a public audience.
- ESPN added a facility in Charlotte, N.C., in 1999 which totals 38,000 square feet with three studios. As the home of the SEC Network, programming produced there includes The Paul Finebaum Show, SEC Now and SEC Featured.
- In addition to Austin, Texas, home of the Longhorn Network, facilities are in Miami, Orlando and Washington, D.C.
ESPN+ (“ESPN Plus”) launched April 12, 2018, a direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service offering thousands of live events (MLB, NHL, college sports, boxing, MLS, tennis, cricket and more), original content and an unmatched library of on-demand programming – all for a subscription price of $4.99 per month. ESPN+ is an integrated part of a completely redesigned and reimagined ESPN App that is the premier all-in-one digital sports platform for fans. ESPN+ will also be available through ESPN.com.
ESPN Audio is comprised of ESPN Radio, the county’s largest sports radio network; owned and operated stations in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles; ESPN Podcasts and ESPN Deportes Radio.
- ESPN Radio, which launched January 1, 1992, provides 9,000 hours of talk and event content annually, reaching 32 million listeners a week on 600 stations. ESPN Radio programming is also available on Sirius XM, via digital distributors Apple Music and Tune In and on ESPNRadio.com. In addition to popular sports talk shows such as Golic and Wingo which are simulcast on TV, event programming includes NFL, NBA, MLB and college football and basketball.
- ESPN Audio launched its first podcast in 2005 and is a leader in the sports genre. Offerings focus on “sports passions” (NFL, NBA, MLB, etc.), storytelling (“30 for 30”) and compelling personalities. The most popular titles include Fantasy Focus Football, The Lowe Post as well as podcasts of Radio’s The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, and TV’s First Take, Pardon the Interruption and Around The Horn.
ESPN’s Digital properties include ESPN.com, launched in 1995 and the world’s leading online sports service; the ESPN App, ESPN3, and ESPN Fantasy Sports (the No. 1 fantasy football game) and Interactive Games.
- Other sites: espnW, TheUndefeated.com, ESPNDeportes.com, ESPNFC.com, ESPNCricinfo.com, ESPNScrum.com, XGames.com, ESPNF1.com, SECSports.com, fivethirtyeight.com and a variety of college-, and market-specific sites.
ESPN International reaches sports fans in 61 countries and territories across all seven continents. Business entities include TV (27 networks and syndication), radio, print, digital, consumer products and event management.
- In addition to marquee U.S. (NFL, MLB, NBA, NASCAR, IRL, all of golf’s and tennis’ Grand Slam events) and major international (UEFA Champions League and other top soccer, cricket and more) sports, there are eight local versions of SportsCenter in three languages — Spanish, Portuguese, and English.
- Offices or production facilities include Bangalore, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, London, Mexico City, Miami, Melbourne, Mumbai, New York, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Singapore, Sydney, Toronto and Bristol, Conn.
ESPN The Magazine
ESPN The Magazine debuted in 1998 and aims to be the most in-depth and illuminating publication for sports fans, delivered through ESPN’s unmatched array of platforms. The result is a brand reach audience of 17.5 million per issue. Enterprise journalism and creative photography in an over-sized format is combined with long-form digital presentations, original videos, podcasts, radio segments, TV specials and the top social footprint of any print title.
- ESPYs (launched in 1993), X Games (1995), Winter X Games (1997)
- ESPN Events owns and operates more than 30 events, highlighted by 14 college bowl games and 11 college basketball events.
ESPN Consumer Products offer fans high quality collections inspired by compelling content, unique marketing campaigns and ESPN’s trademark personality at a variety of retail channels. Categories include branded and co-branded apparel and accessories, sporting goods, and indoor/outdoor recreation. X Games event merchandise is available on-site and online as well as bikes, skateboards, scooters and arcade games that celebrate the best in action sports.
- In Orlando, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is a leading multi-sport venue for amateur and pro sports, hosting 100 events yearly, several of which are presented on ESPN platforms.
- Also in Orlando, the ESPN Club is on The Boardwalk at Walt Disney World.
ESPN Corporate Citizenship encompasses our multi-faceted community initiatives, including employee volunteerism, charitable giving, cause marketing and sustainability, while also utilizing our media assets to reach and uplift diverse communities.
|Sept. 7, 1979||ESPN launches at 7 p.m. ET.|
|April 1983||ESPN begins distributing programming internationally.|
|April 30, 1984||ABC completes acquisition of ESPN from Getty. Later, 20% is sold to Nabisco and later to Hearst.|
|January 1987||ESPN airs the America’s Cup live from Australia; overwhelming response proves impact of cable.|
|March 15, 1987||ESPN awarded NFL’s first cable contract; begins fall ‘87.|
|January 5, 1989||ESPN and Major League Baseball reach a four-year agreement to begin in 1990.|
|March 31, 1989||ESPN International launches its first network, ESPN in Latin America.|
|January 1, 1992||ESPN Radio launches.|
|March 4, 1993||The first-ever ESPY Awards and the birth of The V Foundation.|
|October 1, 1993||ESPN2 launches in 10 million homes.|
|May 9, 1994||ESPN acquires Creative Sports (later combined with OCC, purchased in 1993, to form ESPN Regional Television).|
|April 1, 1995||ESPNET SportsZone (now ESPN.com) launches.|
|February 9, 1996||The Walt Disney Company completes acquisition of Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. (which owns ESPN).|
|November 1, 1996||ESPNEWS launches.|
|October 9, 1997||ESPN, Inc. acquires Classic Sports Network (now ESPN Classic).|
|March 11, 1998||ESPN The Magazine launches.|
|July 11, 1998||First ESPN Zone, in Baltimore, opens.|
|March 14, 2001||ESPN2 reaches 75 million homes faster than any other network — 89 months.|
|October 22, 2001||ESPN secures an 11-year agreement to show the entire NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.|
|January 22, 2002||ESPN reaches agreement for multimedia NBA coverage, becoming the first network to televise all four major professional sports-NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA.|
|March 30, 2003||ESPN HD, a high-definition simulcast service of ESPN, launches. ESPN2 HD follows in Jan. 2005.|
|January 7, 2004||ESPN Deportes, a 24-hour, Spanish language sports network, launches.|
|June 7, 2004||ESPN’s state-of-the-art Digital Center opens.|
|March 4, 2005||ESPNU, a 24-hour network devoted to college sports, launches.|
|April 18, 2005||ESPN acquires Monday Night Football for eight years, beginning in 2006.|
|June 1, 2005||ESPN, along with the Discovery Channel, becomes the first network in cable television history to pass the 90-million subscriber mark in the U.S.|
|Sept. 14, 2005||ESPN reaches agreement with Major League Baseball for eight years, through 2013.|
|December 7, 2005||ESPN announces eight-year agreement with NASCAR, 2007 – 2014.|
|June 21, 2006||ESPN and the Big Ten Conference announce 10-year agreement.|
|April 26, 2007||ESPN announces eight-year, multi-platform agreement with the Big 12.|
|May 15, 2007||ESPN launches its first free, downloadable video podcast.|
|May 23, 2007||The 13th international version of SportsCenter launches, serving Africa/Middle East.|
|June 27, 2007||ESPN and NBA announce eight-year, multi-platform deal, the first for platforms yet to be invented.|
|Sept. 1, 2007||ESPN360.com relaunches, focusing on live events, offering more than 3000 in 12 months.|
|May 12, 2008||ESPN announces six-year, multiplatform agreement with USTA for US Open, bringing all four of tennis’ Grand Slam events to ESPN2 and ESPN360.com.|
|August 25, 2008||ESPN announces unprecedented 15-year agreement the SEC, providing content for 16 outlets.|
|November 13, 2008||ESPN reaches a wide-ranging, eight-year agreement for all four rounds of the British Open.|
|November 18, 2008||ESPN announces a four-year, multiplatform agreement to televise 15 BCS games, including the national championship game in 2011, 2012 and 2013.|
|December 29, 2008||In the fourth quarter, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS & ESPN Deportes, combine to reach a record 220 million Americans (76% of population, 92% of cable homes). Including ESPN on ABC, the number rises to a record 250 million Americans – 86% of the population.|
|April 6, 2009||The Los Angeles Production Center debuts as the home of the weekday 1 a.m. ET SportsCenter.|
|April 13, 2009||ESPNChicago.com launches, followed later in the year by Boston, Dallas and Los Angeles, and New York in April 2010.|
|May 19, 2009||Two announcements greatly expand ESPNU distribution – joining DIRECTV’s CHOICE package July 1, and Comcast’s Digital Classic service by fall – and ESPN360.com’s, joining Comcast.net.|
|Aug.31-Sep. 14, 2009||ESPN’s first US Open – completing a “Grand Slam” – includes ESPN2’s two most-watched tennis telecasts. A men’s semifinal and the Women’s Final are postponed a day by rain and air on ESPN2.|
|October 9, 2009||ESPN The Magazine’s first annual “Body Issue” goes on sale as a celebration of athletes of diverse shapes, sizes, genders and races within ESPN’s boundaries of taste, and frontiers of creativity.|
|October 20, 2009||Monday Night Football, celebrating its 40th year, becomes the first sports franchise recognized by the Broadcast & Cable Hall of Fame.|
|November 12, 2009||ESPN International acquires TV and radio rights in Argentina for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games and the London 2012 Olympic Games, plus pay television rights in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay and satellite-only television rights in Venezuela.|
|December 27, 2009||The Nielsen year concludes with ESPN and ESPN2 setting new marks for average total-day audience for the year. Fourth quarter was ESPN’s most-watched quarter ever. The year’s combined audience for ESPN networks (with ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic and ESPN Deportes) is also a record.|
|February 25, 2010||ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is officially the new name of the re-imagined sports facilities at Walt Disney World, opened in 1997.|
|April 4, 2010||ESPN3.com is the new name of broadband ESPN360.com, with enhanced video and functions for video, news, stats interactivity and social networking.|
|July 8, 2010||ESPN and the ACC announce a 12-year agreement for rights to all conference football and men’s basketball games, plus all other sports and conference championships across virtually all ESPN platforms in the U.S. and abroad.|
|September 2, 2010||In an extensive agreement with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, new offerings include viewing ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU via Broadband; ESPN Goal Line, a network taking fans to top college football games every Saturday; and ESPN Buzzer Beater, a similar college basketball service.|
|September 30, 2010||espnW is announced to launch Spring 2011 (later moved to Dec. 6) – primarily a digital product suite including pc web, mobile web, mobile applications and social media to serve, inspire and inform the female athlete and fan.|
|December 26, 2010||ESPN and ESPN2 each top 2009 for its most-watched year (Nielsen calendar). For ESPN, the fourth quarter was its most watched quarter ever. The year’s combined audience for ESPN networks (adding ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic and ESPN Deportes) is also a new high.|
|December 27, 2010||Monday Night Football ends its best season yet on ESPN with the third-most watched show in cable history (New Orleans-Atlanta), excluding breaking news and again is cable’s most-watched series.|
|January 2, 2011||ESPN’s ends its highest-rated week ever (2.2) (first week of Nielsen’s 2011 calendar).|
|January 10, 2011||BCS National Championship: cable’s biggest audience (avg.: 27.3M viewers), ESPN’s highest rating (17.8) and ESPN3.com’s fourth most popular event (after three FIFA World Cup matches).|
|April 7, 2011||WatchESPN App for iPad, iPhone and iPod launches, allowing mobile access to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com for subscribers to Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Verizon FiOS, the first live, streaming cable channels available in the U.S. on mobile devices.|
|May 4, 2011||ESPN and the Pac-12 announce a 12-year agreement for more than 80 events a year across ESPN platforms starting in 2012-13, highlighted by football (including the conference championship every other year), men’s and women’s basketball (including conference tournament action) and Olympic sports.|
|August 10, 2011||ABC and the Indianapolis 500 extend one of sport TV’s longest relationships (1965), keeping the race on ABC, plus four other IndyCar races 2013-18. The deal also includes expanded use of in-car camera angles on ESPN3.com and international rights for the entire series.|
|August 26, 2011||Longhorn Network launches.|
|August 31, 2011||WatchESPN.com is the new name for ESPNNetworks.com, and ESPN3.com is shortened to ESPN3.|
|September 8, 2011||ESPN and the NFL announce an eight-year extension (2014-21) for Monday Night Football plus expanded NFL studio programming, the Pro Bowl and NFL Draft, 3D rights, and enhanced international and highlight rights, both on TV and online.|
|September 25, 2011||ESPN – and the family of networks collectively — posted its most-watched fiscal year for the fourth consecutive year and tied its record fiscal year rating, set in 1990 and tied last year.|
|November 22, 2011||Robert A. Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company announces ESPN President George Bodenheimer will become Executive Chairman of ESPN, and John Skipper ESPN President and Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks, effective January 1, 2012.|
|December 15, 2011||ESPN and the NCAA announce a multiyear agreement through 2023-24 for worldwide, multi-media rights to 24 NCAA championships and exclusive multi-media rights outside the United States, its territories and Bermuda for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.|
|December 30, 2011||ESPN and Comcast sign an historic, wide-ranging and long-term distribution agreement for Disney Media Networks, including multiple products and platforms.|
|January 9, 2012||BCS National Championship: cable’s second-biggest audience (avg.: 24.2M viewers) and ESPN’s second-highest rating (16.2) for Alabama’s 21-0 victory over LSU.|
|May 8, 2012||WatchESPN is made available to Comcast’s more than 22 million Xfinity subscribers via iPads, iPhones and iPod touch devices, as well as online. WatchESPN now reaches 40 million homes.|
|June 24, 2012||ESPN Deportes concludes its highest-rated month and most-watched quarter ever (up 43% from 2011), boosted by Euro 2012.|
|June 28, 2012||ESPN reaches a 12-year extension to televise the Rose Bowl Game (2015-2026).|
|July 1, 2012||The UEFA Euro 2012 championship match (Spain 4, Italy 0) is the most-watched game ever for the tournament on U.S. television (more than four million viewers). On ESPN Deportes, it posted a 12.9 Hispanic rating, the network’s highest rating ever. For the 31-game tournament, the ESPN/ESPN2 audience is 51% higher than 2008 (ESPN/ESPN2/ABC).|
|July 8, 2012||ESPN’s first exclusive Wimbledon concludes with the network’s highest tennis rating (2.9) for the Gentlemen’s Championship, an overall increase in audience over the split coverage of 2011 with strong growth among the key male demos, plus nearly triple the digital usage.|
|August 28, 2012||ESPN finalizes an eight-year MLB multiplatform rights extension which significantly enhances TV (with additional games and studio programing), digital, radio and international rights 2014-2021, including a Wild Card game.|
|September 7, 2012||ESPN and the Big 12 announce an agreement through 2024-25 with additional football and basketball games across ESPN’s television networks in the U.S. and abroad and ESPN3.|
|September 13, 2012||SportsCenter airs its 50,000th episode, the most of any television show in U.S. history, at 6 p.m. ET on ESPNEWS.|
|October 4, 2012||ESPN and Cablevision announce a comprehensive agreement to deliver Disney’s sports, news and entertainment content across TV, internet, tablets and handheld devices, including several new services, including the full suite of authenticated WATCH products, ESPN3 and ESPN 3D.|
|November 14, 2012||ESPN announces a 12-year agreement for the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans beginning January 2015.|
|November 15, 2012||ESPN reaches a 12-year agreement with the ACC for the Orange Bowl beginning in January 2015 to be played either December 31 or January 1 with the conference champion against an opponent from the SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame.|
|November 21, 2012||ESPN finalizes a 12-year agreement to present the new college football playoff – two semifinals and the championship, plus the other bowl games part of the semifinal rotation – each January from 2015 – 2026.|
|December 8, 2012||You Don’t Know Bo, one of the new “30 for 30” films as the critically acclaimed series was revived this year, earns a 2.6 rating, ESPN’s highest ever for a documentary.|
|December 13, 2012||ESPN and Cox Communications finalize a comprehensive agreement to deliver Disney’s sports, news and entertainment content across TV, internet, tablets and handheld devices, including several new services, including the full suite of authenticated WATCH products, ESPN3 and ESPN 3D.|
|January 15, 2013||ESPN and AT&T U-verse announce a comprehensive agreement to deliver Disney’s sports, news and entertainment content across TV, internet, tablets and handheld devices, including several new services, including the full suite of authenticated WATCH products, ESPN3 and ESPN 3D.|
|March 19, 2013||ESPN and the Big East Conference (soon renamed the American Athletic Conference) announce a multimedia, worldwide rights agreement for football, basketball and more through 2019-20, continuing a relationship of more than three decades.|
|May 2, 2013||ESPN and the Southeastern Conference announce a 20-year agreement to create and operate a TV and digital platforms to launch in August 2014 with 1,000 events annually. The existing media rights agreement is extended through 2034.|
|November 21, 2013||SportsCenter app debuts (replacing ScoreCenter, the most popular free sports app with 43 million downloads), with a comprehensive, personalized mix of scores, news, video and more.|
|August 14, 2014||SEC Network launches in more than 60 million homes, including nine of the top 10 distributors, and a schedule of more than 1,000 live events in the first year including 45 football games, more than 100 men’s and 60 women’s basketball games, and 75 baseball games with hundreds more online.|
|September 7, 2014||ESPN’s 35th birthday is ESPN Digital’s best day ever – for the first, time averaging more than one million users at any time (previous best was 866,000 on September 15, 2013).|
|October 6, 2014||ESPN and the NBA announce a nine-year (through 2024-25 season) agreement to significantly enhance NBA rights and content offerings, including additional games, other content across platforms, expanded rights for ESPN Audio and ESPN International, and the WNBA.|
|December 23, 2014||The Walt Disney Company and DirecTV finalize a comprehensive agreement to deliver Disney and ESPN Media Networks’ content across TV, computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and other connected devices. The deal adds several services, including the full suite of authenticated WATCH products as well as ESPN3 and the Longhorn Network.|
|December 29, 2014||ESPN closes the year as the most-watched cable network in prime time for the first time in its history. ESPN averaged 2,300,000 viewers, up five percent from 2013.|
|December 31, 2014||ESPN Digital Media finishes the best year ever in the sports category, with 9.97 billion visits, 82.8 billion minutes of content consumed, 12.9 billion minutes of WatchESPN streamed and 4.8 billion views of video clips.|
|January 1, 2015||ESPN celebrates the New Year with its most-viewed day ever (a 6.5 rating); buoyed by College GameDay, the Cotton Bowl Classic, The Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl; ESPN averaged 11,680,000 viewers. The Sugar and Rose Bowls rank as cable’s biggest two audiences in history.
The Outback Bowl is ESPN2’s biggest audience ever, an average of 6,400,000 viewers, based on a record 3.8 rating for Wisconsin’s overtime victory over Auburn.
|January 12, 2015||The first-ever College Football Playoff Championship – Ohio State 42-20 over Oregon – is the largest audience and highest rating in cable television history – an average of 33,395,000 viewers, based on an 18.2 rating.|
|May 5, 2015||In a night both historic and poignant, ESPN claimed 11 Sports Emmy Awards – tying its highest total ever – while former president George Bodenheimer received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Also, Stuart Scott was honored posthumously and cancer survivor Shelley Smith took the stage – to a standing ovation – fresh off her return to reporting duties.|
|Aug. 31 –Sept. 13, 2015||ESPN’s first exclusive US Open is the most-viewed in four years and the best tennis event ever for WatchESPN.|
|October 6, 2015||Multi Screen Media and ESPN announce a collaboration in India and the region to create SONY ESPN sports channels, a multisport website and app utilizing a powerful portfolio of sports rights and the leading collection of digital sports assets in India.|
|December 27, 2015||ESPN repeats as cable’s most-watched network in prime time among households and viewers, first accomplished in 2014.|
|December 29, 2015||ESPN Deportes reaches an agreement with CBS and the National Football League to televise Super Bowl 50 in Spanish on Sunday, February 7, live from Santa Clara, Calif.|
|January 3, 2016||ESPN completes its most-watched week ever for prime time (an average of 9,054,000 viewers).|
|January 11, 2016||The College Football Championship (Alabama 45, Clemson 40) averages 25,667,000 viewers (14.7 rating), cable’s most-watched program since the inaugural CFP National Championship a year earlier and the sixth best in cable history. Digitally, the Megacast ranked as the best non-World Cup game ever on WatchESPN across all major metrics, surpassing the previous high inaugural CFP National Championship with a 23% increase in average minute impressions, 38% in unique viewers and 32% in total minutes.|
|January 17, 2016||SONY ESPN and SONY ESPN HD launch in India, the first steps in the innovative collaboration announced in 2015 between Sony and ESPN to power unmatched content, across both, television and digital platforms.|
|February 3, 2016||ESPN reaches agreement with Tencent, one of the world’s leading providers of online products and services, whereby ESPN’s content will be localized and exclusively distributed and promoted by Tencent’s digital platforms in China.|
|February 7, 2016||ESPN Deportes airs the Super Bowl for the first time, averages an audience 51% bigger than the 2015 Spanish-language telecast; is its most-watched telecast ever, outside of soccer. It was also the most-watched, non-soccer event for ESPN Deportes on WatchESPN, attracting an additional 5,600 average minute impressions to the TV audience, 29,000 unique viewers and a total of 1.5 million minutes viewed.|
|February 8, 2016||SportsCenter: AM debuts, weekdays 7-9 a.m. ET, the earliest in the day SportsCenter has ever aired a live show.|
|May 17, 2016||The Undefeated – the digital content platform exploring the intersection of sports, race and culture – launches. It combines innovative long-form and short-form storytelling, original reporting and provocative commentary to enlighten and entertain African Americans, as well as sports fans seeking a deeper understanding of black athletes, culture and related issues.|
|June 2, 2016||ESPN and Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) launch ESPN.in website and ESPN app, the first market outside the United States with a localized edition of ESPN’s signature app. They offer sports video content from SONY LIV, SPN’s digital streaming platform, and SPN’s new SONY ESPN sports channels.|
|June 19, 2016||Game Seven of the NBA Finals – Cleveland and LeBron James completing an unprecedented comeback from 3-1 for the crown – is ABC’s biggest NBA audience ever (records back to new contract in 2002-03) and the NBA’s biggest since 1998 – an average of 31 million viewers based on a 15.8 rating. For the NBA Finals overall, t is also the biggest audience since 1998.|
|July 11-18, 2016||ESPN Films’ most ambitious project to date — “O.J.: Made in America” – receives universal acclaim. The 7.5-hour documentary from Peabody and Emmy-award winning director Ezra Edelman depicts a defining cultural tale of modern America – a saga of race, celebrity, media, violence and the criminal justice system. Almost a quarter of U.S. TV households tuned in across ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 (41.3 million people). Success on non-traditional platforms include more than 5.3 million downloads within 30 days on cable VOD (more than triple the transactions the entire ESPN VOD channel had ever delivered in any previous month), and 1.3 million unique devices consuming some portion on WatchESPN generating 234.1 million minutes.|
|July 21, 2016||ESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference announce the ACC Network – a comprehensive linear and digital service – will debut in August with ACC Network Extra on WatchESPN. The linear TV network will launch in 2019. The 20-year partnership also provides for the extension of the conference’s existing rights agreement with ESPN to 2036.|
|August 3-21, 2016||ESPN airs the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in more than 60 million homes in Latin America and the Caribbean, in English, Portuguese and Spanish, the first time ever across the entire region and totaling more than 2,800 hours of content across its platforms. ESPN was the highest-rated Pay TV Olympic transmission in the territory, and delivered its three most-watched weeks ever across the region.|
|August 9, 2016||A multi-sport, direct-to-consumer offering from ESPN is announced as part of Disney’s purchase of a minority stake in BAMTech.|
|August 15, 2016||ESPN acquires rights to all UEFA national team matches 2018-22, including exclusive English-language rights to the UEFA European Football Championship 2020. The deal also includes rights to a package of UEFA national team competitions, including qualifying matches in 2020 and for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.|
|September||ESPN Digital Properties sets its all-time high with 136 million users.|
|October 25, 2016||ESPN and Econet Media’s Kwesé announce a collaboration for a wide range of sports and thousands of hours of programming through TV and digital platforms.|
|November 8, 2016||On Election Day, FiveThirtyEight smashed its record for unique users in one day – 16.5 million, totaling 209 million minutes of activity.|
|December 25, 2016||ESPN closes Nielsen’s 2016 as the highest-rated full-time cable network among Men and Adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54, in both total day and prime time.|
|January 5, 2017||ESPN icon Chris Berman announces he will assume a new role for ESPN after the NFL season, hosting NFL PrimeTime from the field after the Super Bowl as well as an NFL Conference Championship game, handling play-by-play for ESPN Radio during the MLB Divisional Playoffs, appearing at the ESPYs and more.January 9, 2017|
|January 9, 2017||The College Football Playoff National Championship, Clemson over Alabama 35-31 delivered a total live audience across the multi-network MegaCast (TV feeds + streaming) of 26,029,000 viewers, the most-watched event carried on cable since the 2016 Championship between the same two teams (26,709,000 viewers). The three-game College Football Playoff total live audience average of 22,230,000 viewers was up 9% from last season. On ESPN, the game averaged 24,391,000 viewers, the eighth most-watched cable telecast of all time.|
|January 25, 2017||Brent Musburger announces he will end his legendary play-by-play career with the Georgia-Kentucky men’s basketball game January 31. His more than 50 years in the business includes the last 27 with ABC/ESPN.|
|February 26, 2017||ESPN wins its first Oscar, in Best Documentary for OJ- Made in America. The 7.5-hour epic is the longest movie ever honored at the Academy Awards.|
|March 21, 2017||The first full year of Out of Home (OOH) data from ESPN’s Fan and Media Intelligence group showed ESPN’s audience was raised 6.2 percent (ESPN2’s 4.1 percent) on a total day basis. Audience lift was led by viewers 18-24, with ESPN up 9.1 percent and ESPN2 6.7 percent.|
|May 15, 2017||SportsCenter Right Now is announced – news updates to both digital and television platforms during daytime hours as well as during halftime of televised prime-time sporting events.|
|May 16, 2017||The new Mike Greenberg morning show will premiere in 2018, it is announced. The weekday program will originate from Manhattan and will air live from 7-10 a.m. ET on ESPN.
In addition, Trey Wingo will replace Greenberg on ESPN Radio’s morning show with Mike Golic.
|July 24, 2017||A new agreement with the Big Ten will keep football (27 games), basketball (38) and Olympic sports (30) on ESPN’s networks and ABC through the 2022-23 college year.|
|August 8, 2017||The Walt Disney Company announces it has agreed to acquire majority ownership of BAMTech, LLC and will launch its ESPN-branded multi-sport video streaming service in early 2018 that will offer a robust array of sports programming, featuring approximately 10,000 live regional, national, and international games and events a year.|
|August 26, 2017||ESPN and Top Rank finalize a vast and exclusive, multimedia agreement to make ESPN the home of Top Rank in the U.S. and Canada, with live fights on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.|
|October 4, 2017||ESPN and Formula 1 agree to a multi-year linear and digital partnership that brings the FIA Formula One World Championship back to ESPN and ABC, its original television home in the U.S., in 2018. All 21 races will air on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC, part of a total of 125 hours across ESPN platforms (includes practice sessions and qualifying).|
|October 5, 2017||Altice USA and The Walt Disney Company finalize a comprehensive distribution agreement to deliver Disney’s robust lineup of premier sports, news and entertainment content to Optimum video customers across television and streaming devices. Optimum will continue to provide its customers widespread access to WABC, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN3 and Freeform, as well as make available additional multiplatform, digital and expanded on-demand content. Optimum will add ESPN’s SEC Network in late 2018 and launch ACC Network (in place of another ESPN network) in August 2019.|
|November 13, 2017||SportsCenter debuts on Snapchat with two shows per day (once on weekends), the first ever daily sports show on the platform. They are three to five minutes in length and present sports news, highlights and commentary in a fast-paced, high energy format.|
|December 20, 2017||ESPN expands its rights with the National Football League to include live streaming of Monday Night Football for ESPN subscribers to mobile phones. The expanded mobile rights – which begin with the upcoming NFL Wild Card game – also include NFL highlights and extend through the duration of ESPN’s existing NFL agreement (conclusion of the 2021 NFL season).|
|January||1||The College Football Playoff semifinals propel ESPN to its second most-watched day ever, an average of 6.011M viewers for 24 hours.|
|8||The College Football Playoff National Championship is cable’s second-biggest audience ever (up 13% to 28.443M, behind only the 2015 inaugural championship), on ESPN’s Nielsen-rated networks (ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU) as part of the Megacast production.|
|March||5||James Pitaro is named President of ESPN. Chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media since 2016, he is ESPN’s eighth chief executive.|
|April||12||ESPN+ launches within the redesigned and enhanced ESPN App. ESPN+, with thousands of live events annually, plus original programming and an on-demand library including the “30 for 30” library, is the company’s first direct-to-consumer streaming service.|
|17||Fivethirtyeight.com is sold to ABC News.|
|May||23||UFC, The Walt Disney Company and ESPN announce ESPN-branded media platforms starting in 2019 will be the exclusive digital and television home of the UFC in the U.S. with 42 live events annually. Thirty will feature a full card of 12 bouts. This expands the rights to UFC on ESPN+ revealed earlier this month.|
|August||2||ESPN and Top Rank announce the most comprehensive, exclusive rights agreement in the history of boxing. The seven-year deal runs from 2018 to 2025 and includes 54 events per year, as well as exclusive shoulder programming, classic fights and studio content.|
|September||5||Comcast and ESPN announce the launch of ESPN3, ACC Network Extra and SEC Network + on Xfinity X1, giving fans the ability to stream over the Internet, directly on their television, more than 5,000 live events annually.|
|20||ESPN+ — the multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) in collaboration with ESPN – has surpassed one million paying subscribers in just over five months since its April launch.|
|October||10||The PGA will be seen on ESPN and ESPN+ beginning in 2020 in an 11-year agreement encompassing 165 live hours across all four days of the tournament, as well as pre-tournament and other ancillary content.|
|November||30||ESPN and the ACC announce the ACC Network will launch August 22, 2019. The 24/7 network is poised to air 1,300 live events annually across its TV and digital offerings from around the conference’s 15 member schools and 27 sponsored sports.|
|December||30||The Walt Disney Company and Verizon finalize a broad-based agreement to deliver Disney and ESPN Media Networks’ content across platforms. It also includes distribution of the ACC network, launching in August 2019.|