On Anniversary Day, ESPN Looks Ahead


As ESPN breaks out the champagne in lauding its silver anniversary Monday, one has to wonder what new properties executives will be christening in the next couple of years.

ESPN and ABC Sports boss George Bodenheimer mentioned a few new network possibilities during a meeting with the press at the company’s Bristol, Conn. headquarters last Tuesday.

“Outdoors is an area we’re bullish on. We bought the BASS company. We continue to expand in the outdoors category. We continue to expand in the outdoors category,” he said. “We are heavily invested in the college sports community. That’s been talked about. Motor sports. Alternate—what do we call them—action sports, what we all used to call extreme sports. So I would say those four categories are probably the categories most recently discussed.

Asked the following day to handicap new network prospects, ESPN vice president of programming and production Mark Shapiro referenced Bodenheimer’s remarks before noting: “The bottom line is we have evaluated five, six different ideas over the last 18 months. You know, it’s time to fish or cut bait. We’d like to get moving on something,” he said.