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If ESPN Sells Equity, Black Athletes Should Unite and Invest


During an early Thursday morning interview on CNBC, Disney CEO Bob Iger ignited a frenzy in the sports world when he stated that essentially, all Disney-owned brands were up for evaluation, including long-time cash cow ESPN.

“Our position in that business is very unique,” said Iger. “We have a great brand. We’ve had a great business and we want to stay in that business. That said, we’re going to be open-minded there too. Not necessarily about spinning ESPN off, but about looking for strategic partners that can either help us with distribution or content. But we want to stay in the sports business.”

Immediately, social media started buzzing about Iger’s comments.

To industry insiders, Iger’s comments aren’t a surprise. Sports media has changed dramatically and rising costs and earnings pressures have caused business strategies to shift rapidly.

But to the typical sports fan, the thought of ESPN being owned by another group, even partially, is alarming.

For over 40 years, ESPN has unquestionably been the World Wide Leader in Sports. Others have tried to challenge the network but failed.

I can personally attest to this as I am a former ESPN employee who started right as Disney was about to acquire the company.

My career began during the height of the massive programming initiative “Sports Century.” I was there for the re-launch of ESPNews, the move of Monday Night Football from ABC Sports to ESPN, the integration of ABC Sports into ESPN, the acquisition of the NBA in 2002, Bristol’s expansion and many other company milestones.

ESPN grew quickly and no competitor could duplicate its success.

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