ESPN, Inc.: 1993 In Review

AnnouncementsYear in Review

ESPN, Inc.: 1993 In Review


Under the direction of ESPN President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Bornstein, ESPN focused on marketing

and extending the network’s brand name in 1993 at home and abroad — most notably with the successful launch of

ESPN2.  Retransmission consent agreements among Capital Cities/ABC, Inc., The Hearst Corporation and more than

130 cable operators accelerated ESPN2’s subscriber count to 10 million homes at launch (11.5 million currently).

Other 1993 highlights included key developments in ESPN International; the purchase of Ohlmeyer

Communications Company (now OCC); the expansion of ESPN Sports Radio; successes on the programming front,

led by a new six-year agreement with Major League Baseball and the creation of the American Sports Awards, the

ESPYs; the development of a new subsidiary, ESPN Enterprises, Inc. to lead ESPN into ancillary businesses such

as pay-per-view and sports video games; and innovative advertising campaigns and viewer participation contests.

These all helped to make 1993 both a very significant and successful year for the company.

ESPN, Inc. now operates two U.S. television networks; two international television networks; audio feeds in eight languages; programming to more than 90 countries; co-ventures in sports networks in Europe, Japan and New

Zealand; and a radio network.

“ESPN is now more than a sports network — it is a brand name synonymous with the best in sports entertainment,” Bornstein said.  “The better-than-hoped-for launch of our second service symbolized this company and its people at

their best — creative, efficient and hardworking.”


  • For the 11th consecutive year, ESPN will end the year as America’s largest cable network (62.7 million households, 67% of American television homes).
  • ESPN2 is currently in 11.5 million households, with commitments for 35 million by the end of 1996.
  • Internationally, ESPN serves more than 45 million households in 90 countries.
  • ESPN Sports Radio is now heard on more than 260 affiliates (240 a year ago).


  • ESPN’s consumer marketing department and Wieden & Kennedy has created a series of spots utilizing the SportsCenter theme music, “Da!Da!Da!”; “SportsCenter Fantasy” spots, college football spots and viewer participation contests

while also working on the network’s overall look and voice to broaden its appeal to a wider audience.

  • ESPN Enterprises, Inc., a subsidiary created in 1992, entered the pay-per-view business by distributing ABC Sports’ regional college football games and championship boxing.  Other ventures include sports video games, home video

and merchandising.

  • ESPN purchased the sports programming and sports sales interests, including The Skins Game,

      of Ohlmeyer Communications Company (now OCC).


  • New programming included:  the Major League Baseball All-Star Home Run Derby, NFL Prime Monday, NFL Pro

      Bowl Selection Show, IBM/ATP Tour Championship Series, State Farm Women’s Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic,

      ESPN Fitness Pros, Dream League, Max Out, Fast Masters racing, World Roller Hockey League, Pro Athlete’s Golf       League, World Cup USA, Radical Outdoor Challenge, NASCAR Shop Talk, the World University Games and a

      variety of outdoors programs.


  • ESPN2’s event programming is chosen to appeal to a young audience and active sports fans — the NHL (at least

75 games), NCAA basketball (at least 40 games), Arena Football, Continental Basketball Association, Canadian Football League, National Professional Soccer League, Major Indoor Lacrosse League and participatory/extreme sports.

  • ESPN2’s studio shows — primarily SportsNight and Talk2 — present sports news less formally with humor and irreverence.


  • The inaugural American Sports Awards — the ESPYs, given for Excellence in Sports Performance, were presented

in more than 30 categories during an ESPN telecast March 4.  A portion of the proceeds benefitted the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS, Inc.

  • ESPN NCAA basketball commentator Jim Valvano — then in the final stages of a struggle against cancer — was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award and delivered a memorable speech that included his motto, “Don’t

      give up, Don’t ever give up.”  Valvano announced that he and ESPN were organizing The V Foundation to raise

      funds to further cancer research.  Valvano died April 28.  The 1994 ESPYs — to be televised live February 28 — will       benefit The V Foundation.


  • ESPN has been chosen to receive the Creators Award from the National Academy of Cable Programming at the

15th Annual CableACE Awards, January 14, 1994.  The Creators Award is given to a network whose programming contributions have enriched the landscape that the cable industry offers the consumer and society at large.

  • ESPN won three Sports Emmy Awards and four CableACE Awards.


      The following programs each set viewership records in 1993:

      PROGRAM                                                         DATE             RATING    HOUSEHOLDS

      NFL PrimeTime                                                       Oct. 3                  6.0                 3,714,000

      Major League Baseball:                                           Oct. 3                  5.8                 3,590,000

        Giants at Dodgers

      Auto Racing:                                                           April 4                  4.5                 2,772,000

        NASCAR Winston Cup Food City 500

      NFL Draft                                                                April 25                4.2                 2,587,000

      NFL GameDay                                                         Oct. 31                4.0                 2,476,000

      Top Rank Boxing                                                    Aug. 30                4.0                 2,440,000

      College GameDay                                                    Nov. 13                2.2                 1,360,000


Dave Nagle

As I write this on 11-11-21, it's now 35 years for me at ESPN, the only real job I’ve ever had. I joined merely to help with the upcoming America’s Cup in Australia. I was told it would be for three months at all of $5.50 per hour. I like to say I simply kept showing up. I’ve worked on almost every sport, plus answered viewer calls and letters (people used to write!), given tours, written the company newsletter and once drove NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon to the local airport. My travels have been varied…I’ve been to Martinsville, Darlington, Indy and Super Bowls; the America’s Cup (all 3) in San Diego and College GameDay in the sport’s meccas such as Eugene, Auburn, Lubbock, Stillwater and more; the NBA Finals, Wimbledon (16 times and counting) and the “other Bristol,” the one with a race track in Tennessee. These days, my main areas are tennis, UFC, boxing, network-wide ratings (by month/quarter/year), and corporate communications documents, including fact sheets, chronologies, lists and nearly 35 of the Year in Review press releases. UPDATE EXACTLY ONE YEAR LATER: Today, November 11, 2022, I am retiring from ESPN -- 36 years to the day I began. As I ride off into the sunset – top down and E Street Radio blaring – I do so with so many wonderful memories, proud of my contributions and a heart full of gratitude for the opportunity. 
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