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Joint venture
Industry Sports broadcasting
Founded September 7, 1979; 38 years ago (1979-09-07)
Founder Bill Rasmussen
Headquarters Bristol, Connecticut, United States
Key people
James Pitaro (President)

ESPN Inc. is an American sports media conglomerate based in Bristol, Connecticut. Jointly owned by The Walt Disney Company (which owns a 80% majority share), and Hearst Communications (which owns a 20% minority share), it owns various sports broadcasting operations, including cable channels (such as the titular ESPN), a sports radio network, an accompanying website, and other assets.[1][2][3]

ESPN markets itself as the "Worldwide Leader in Sports". Most programming on ESPN networks consist of live or tape-delayed sporting events, sports news programming, sports talk shows, and original series and documentaries.[4][5]

In August 2016, Disney purchased a 1/3 stake in BAMTech for $1 billion from MLB Advanced Media with the option to purchase a majority share, which it later exercised now owning 75% . Disney purchased the stake to first develop an ESPN subscription streaming service. The service would not include any current ESPN channel or its content, but tap BAMTech licensed rights and ESPN college rights.[6]






Under the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's rules regarding foreign broadcasters, ESPN has been prohibited from acquiring majority ownership of any channel operating in Canada. Instead, ESPN partnered with several Canadian firms to form a privately held consortium named NetStar Communications in 1995, which then acquired the sports networks TSN and RDS. These Canadian partners then sold their shares in 2001 to CTV Inc. (now Bell Media). ESPN continues to own 20 percent of what is now CTV Specialty Television while Bell Media owns the remaining 80 percent.[7]

The sports channels owned by the CTV Specialty Television subsidiary:

Through CTV Specialty Television, ESPN also has an indirect interest in several channels operated in partnership with Discovery Communications, but ESPN is not believed to be directly involved with these operations.

United Kingdom

In 2006, ESPN acquired the North American Sports Network (NASN), later re-branded as ESPN America in 2008.[8][9] ESPN launched a domestic channel in the United Kingdom after acquiring a portion of the local rights package to the Premier League alongside Sky Sports, replacing the collapsing Setanta Sports. The contract lasted from the 2009-10 season to the 2012-13 season.[10][11] However, by 2012, the network had begun to lose many of its key sports rights, including the Premier League, to BT Group.[12][13][14]

On January 25, 2013, ESPN reached a deal to sell its television business in the United Kingdom and Ireland, including ESPN America's programming rights, to BT Group. The ESPN channel in the United Kingdom was placed under the control of BT Sport, while ESPN Classic and ESPN America were shut down. ESPN continues to operate digital properties targeting the United Kingdom, including its, ESPN FC, ESPNcricinfo, and ESPNscrum websites.[15] Two years later, ESPN reached a long-term deal with BT Sport for British rights to ESPN original programming and international event rights.[16]


See also


  1. ^ "ESPN: The Worldwide Leader In Sports". Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "ESPN, Inc.: Private Company Information". Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "ESPN, Inc. | Company Profile". Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "ESPN". Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  5. ^ Badenhausen, Kurt. "Why ESPN Is Worth $40 Billion As The World's Most Valuable Media Property". Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Miller, Daniel (August 9, 2016). "Walt Disney Co. buys stake in video streaming service BAMTech". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 17, 2016. 
  7. ^ "CTV can acquire TSN if it unloads Sportsnet". Toronto: March 25, 2000. Retrieved March 20, 2017. 
  8. ^ Hancock, Ciaran (3 December 2006). "Ireland: TV3 grabs Setanta stake". The Times. London. Retrieved 2007-08-07. 
  9. ^ Welsh, James (2 October 2008). "NASN to become ESPN America". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  10. ^ "Setanta loses Premier TV rights". BBC News. 19 June 2009. 
  11. ^ "ESPN snaps up Premier League TV packages". ESPNsoccernet. 22 June 2009. 
  12. ^ "Premier League rights sold to BT and BSkyB for £3bn". BBC News. 13 June 2012. 
  13. ^ "BT poaches Premiership Rugby rights from ESPN, Sky". Digital Spy. 12 September 2012. 
  14. ^ "BT deals further blow to ESPN with new rights deals". Digital Spy. 6 November 2012. 
  15. ^ "BT buys ESPN'S UK and Ireland TV channels". The Guardian. 25 February 2013. Retrieved February 24, 2017. 
  16. ^ "BT Sport and ESPN deepen relationship with long-term collaboration". BT plc. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
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