ESPN2 HIGHLIGHTS BRAND NAME EXTENSION
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).
MARKETING AND NEW BUSINESSES
- 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
- 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 AMERICAN SPORTS AWARDS — THE ESPYS
- 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