Ribbon-Cutting Today for ESPN’s First Building in Southington

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Ribbon-Cutting Today for ESPN’s First Building in Southington

Welcome Center at South End of ESPN Plaza is New Entrance for Visitors

This morning, a ribbon was cut and the doors opened to ESPN’s new Welcome Center, the company’s 17th building at its 123-acre ESPN Plaza campus and the first in Southington.  The 5,600-square foot building at the southern end of the company’s property will serve as the new access point for all incoming visitors to ESPN.  It will also be home to some members of ESPN’s Global Security department.

Since 1998, ESPN Plaza has stretched across the Bristol line, now totaling 36 acres in Southington.  Before the welcome center, the primary uses of the land has been as home to the company’s teleport – the collection of more than two dozen satellite “dish” antennas – and for parking.  As part of the development of the area at the southern end of ESPN Plaza, in 2013 more than 260 parking spaces were created for the company’s workforce.

With the addition of the Welcome Center, ESPN Plaza now totals 966,349 square feet.  Later in 2014, ESPN will cut another ribbon – for the grand opening of its largest building, Digital Center 2.  The state-of-the-art facility will take over the top spot from the current Digital Center (136,000 sq. ft.) with 193,000 sq. ft. 

ESPN Plaza

From humble beginnings – less than an acre purchased sight-unseen by ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen from the City of Bristol in 1978 – the evolution of ESPN Plaza has been steady, and remarkable.  Now totaling 123 acres (36 in Southington), including seven at the near Child Care Center, ESPN Plaza encompasses 966,349 square feet of space across 17 buildings and serves as home to 3,000 employees.  Another 1,000 are employed nearby in a leased location, now totaling an additional 393,000 square feet.

ESPN

ESPN, the world’s leading sports entertainment company, features more than 50 assets – seven U.S. television networks, ESPN International, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, and more.  ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc. (an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company) and 20 percent by The Hearst Corporation.

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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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