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ESPN, Inc.: 2010 in Review

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In 2010, ESPN continued to leverage its strengths – innovation, technology and, most of all, its creative and dedicated workforce – to the benefit of sports fans around the world.  The Worldwide Leader in Sports invested in its businesses in the U.S. and abroad, particularly in the digital arena, to promote future growth.  The company enjoyed record consumption across platforms, highlighted by many viewership marks on its U.S. networks for the year, plus many individual sports and shows. Overall usage across media – a focus of company efforts – rose 11 percent over 2009, and was up 27 percent compared to just five years ago.

The major developments of the year included an expansive and forward-looking distribution agreement with Time Warner Cable which included new services, notably the first authenticated online access to linear networks (ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU); the debuts of ESPN 3D and espnW, an initiative to better connect with female sports fans and athletes; and the sparkling drama of the FIFA World Cup from South Africa, a month-long showcase of ESPN at its best which drove traffic across platforms.  More than 160 million people – 55% of Americans – consumed World Cup content on an ESPN platform (TV, radio, online, magazine, mobile), including a 41% rise among TV viewers.  In addition, ESPNU College Town, a new social game on Facebook, was an instant sensation with millions of fans playing; the “30 for 30” documentary series concluded following unprecedented acclaim; efforts to reach local sports fans expanded with ESPNNewYork.com, the fifth local site, each now with localized sports apps; five new ESPN Deportes Radio affiliates were added in major markets; and in collaboration with Disney, the Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando was rebranded ESPN Wide World of Sports. 

Investment overseas mirrored U.S. efforts, emphasizing multimedia, technology and local sports interests, highlighted by an array of developments growing the company’s presence in Western Europe – an HD service launched for ESPN America which debuted a local SportsCenter while ESPN UK acquired FA Cup rights and ESPN.co.UK debuted.  Elsewhere, ESPN Latin America obtained the rights to the Olympic Games in 2010 and 2012 in South America, and ESPN HD in Latin America launched, the company’s first Spanish-language pan-regional network in HD.

As the year drew to a close, anticipation grew for one of the company’s highest profile acquisitions in years, the debut of the Bowl Championship Series in early January 2011 with the Fiesta, Orange and Sugar Bowls and the BCS Championship joining the Rose Bowl on the company’s full shelf of 33 bowls.

“Every year as the sports world and technology evolves, the dedicated people of ESPN continue to lead through innovation,” said George Bodenheimer, president, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports, and co-chairman, Disney Media Networks. “Thanks to a culture of creativity and a sharp focus on enhancing the fan’s experience, they continually produce high quality content and find new ways to deliver it.”

CONTENT  

  • ESPN & ESPN2 each enjoyed their most-viewed year, with ESPN setting a new mark each quarter (4Q was its most-watched quarter ever) and each posting their most-viewed month ever (ESPN – November, ESPN2 – September).  Adding ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic and ESPN Deportes, the six ESPN networks combined to average a record 24-hour audience with many sport-specific records for series and telecasts (see below). 
  • 217 million Americans watched ESPN networks (based on “reach data” for ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS & ESPN Deportes) in the fourth quarter (89% of cable homes).
  • Including ESPN on ABC, in fourth quarter 246 million Americans watched ESPN content on TV.
  • Surveys of cable operators by Beta Research Corp. ranked ESPN and ESPN2 the top two major ad-supported cable nets in perceived value.  ESPN was #1 for the 10th consecutive year, and for the sixth year in a row operators considered ESPN the most important network in selling broadband or interactive TV services. 
  • Program acquisitions and renewals were highlighted by long-term agreements with the ACC and Australian Open, and, hoping to capitalize on the success of the World Cup, ESPN secured Barclays Premier League matches for three more seasons, with up to 74 live matches a year on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com and ESPN Mobile TV. 
  • ESPN, now in 99.8 million homes, set numerous viewership records in its most-watched year:

Monday Night Football (MNF) generated cable’s top 16 household audiences, for the fifth straight year was cable’s most-watched series, and won the night among men 18-34 and 18-49, and adults 18-34 and 18-49 each week.

SportsCenter was watched by more fans than ever, seen by as many as 115 million people per month.

New highs for average audience were set for the MNF, NFL Pro Bowl and NFL Draft (now with the first round in prime time), Monday Night Countdown, FIFA World Cup (overall and highest-rated soccer telecast) college football and College GameDay, NCAA men’s basketball, Masters golf (first two rounds both rose; day one set a cable record), NASCAR Nationwide Series (Daytona event), Breeders Cup (final hour audience nearly tripled), Winter X Games, documentaries (Pony Exce$$) and the weekday afternoon pairing of Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption.  Early results for the 2010-11 NBA season show strong signs of record viewer interest.

  • ESPN2, now nearly matching ESPN’s distribution with 99.7 million homes, was boosted to its most-watched year, capped by its most-viewed quarter ever, by a variety of records, including NASCAR’s Nationwide Series (the network’s highest-rated series ever), NCAA men’s and women’s basketball, Barclays Premier League (full season and single game viewership set U.S. cable records), the weekday morning duo of Mike and Mike in the Morning and ESPN First Take and weekday afternoon’s SportsNation.
  • ESPN on ABC won the night all seven nights of the NBA Finals, the most-watched since 2003, with viewership up 26 percent.  Game 7’s 15.6 rating was the highest for any NBA game since 1998.  The FIFA World Cup final (Spain over Netherlands) was the most-watched men’s World Cup match (among viewers, P2+) in history.  The Rose Bowl audience grew 12% and it was the highest-rated bowl game aside from the BCS National Championship on ABC a few days later – the most-watched title game since 2006.  Saturday Night Football made ABC the #1 network for the night among key male demos almost every week.  Sports Saturday debuted as late-afternoon sports programming.
  • ESPNEWS is now in 73.4 million homes, and the re-branding of afternoon and evening programming to SportsCenter proved beneficial, displaying the strength of the brand, helping boost ratings every month since the change.
  • ESPNU celebrated its fifth anniversary, grew to 72.5 million homes and saw its audience double over 2009 once year-to-year comparisons began in October.  Live and original programming continues to expand, now totaling more than 65 college football contests, 250 men’s and nearly 50 women’s college basketball games and an increasing variety of highlight/review and behind-the-scenes/documentary programs.
  • ESPN Classic, seen in 39.7 million homes, continues to focus on the heart and soul of Classic sports, identifying key events and anniversaries and creating programming initiatives to celebrate them.  Examples include the Super Bowl; NBA and college basketball season tip offs; Black History, Hispanic Heritage and Women’s History Months; and the 35th Anniversary of the “Thrilla in Manila.”  An extensive lineup of programming reviewing the year aired in December.
  • ESPN Deportes continued to grow across all platforms – TV, radio, online, broadband and mobile.  The TV service remained the most-watched Spanish language sports network.  For the first time, an agreement was secured to air live Barclays Premier League (up to 74 matches/season for three years).  ESPN Deportes Radio, the only 24/7 national Spanish-language sports radio network in the U.S., grew to reach 58 percent of U.S. Hispanics through 46 affiliates, including additions of Atlanta, Denver, Houston, Philadelphia and San Antonio.  It acquired rights to air live all 26 matches of Copa América.  ESPN Deportes’ broadband ESPN3.com service obtained the rights to select matches of EURO 2012.  ESPNdeportes.com averaged 95 million page views and six million unique users per month(up 16 and 21 percent, respectively).  The mobile website added four regionalized versions for Latin America and launched an iPhone radio app in Argentina and the U.S.
  • ESPN.com posted another standout year, with unique visitors/month up 17 percent over 2009, total minutes up 38 percent and capturing 28 percent of all minutes spent with sports sites, up from 25 percent (comScore panel-only data).  Collectively, after launching ESPNNewYork.com in April, the five ESPN local sites averaged more than 5.1 million visitors and 31.8 million total minutes per month (comScore panel-only data).  Strategic technical implemention and progressive editorial strategies drove search referrals (from Google, Yahoo, etc.) up 35 percent for ESPN.com and 108 percent for ESPNdeportes.com.  Fantasy sports grew more popular, with registrations up 17 percent.
  • ESPN3.com — ESPN’s signature broadband sports network was renamed from ESPN360.com in April and enjoyed a breakout year.  Distributed in 65 million homes nationwide, the service delivered more than 4,000 live events.  Average monthly unique viewers and total hours consumed rose 150 percent and 180 percent, respectively, over 2009 (source: Omniture).  The 2010 FIFA World Cup was viewed by 7.4 million unique viewers who watched an average of two hours.  The Spain-Germany semifinal became the service’s most-watched event, an average of 355,000 people.
  • ESPN Mobile continues to be a leader across the mobile Web, mobile TV, apps and alerts.  Each month, ESPN’s industry-leading sites – including ESPN.com, ESPN Deportes, ESPNsoccernet and ESPNcricinfo – attracted nearly 70 percent of users seeking sports on the mobile Web, averaging 12.4 million unique visitors, a 37 percent increase compared to last year.  ESPN delivered nearly 3.5 billion alerts to fans, four times last year’s total, while sign-ups for alerts rose 350 percent.  Over 950 live events were delivered via ESPN Mobile TV, including all 64 World Cup matches live.  The mobile TV network also extended distribution to Sprint TV, adding to carriers FLO TV and mobiTV platforms.  ESPN’s apps across all devices average 4.5 million unique visitors per month (source: Omniture).
  • ESPN Radio presents the best in sports talk, news and events to 21 million listeners a week via 750 stations nationwide, supplemented by satellite and digital distribution.  This includes online streaming (ESPN Radio is the most-listened-to live stream in the world), podcasts that are among the most popular on iTunes and the universally acclaimed new ESPN Radio iPhone app.  These efforts increasingly incorporate offerings from major affiliates.  In 2010, broadcasts of all 64 FIFA World Cup matches joined a lineup highlighted by MLB and World Series, NBA and The Finals, the five BCS games, Kentucky Derby, and more).  July’s annual “Don’t Give Up ESPYs V Foundation Auction” raised nearly $1 million for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. 
  • ESPN Regional Television (ERT), the nation’s largest syndicator of college sports programming, increased the footprint of the SEC Network (now covers 82 percent of U.S. for football and basketball), and its lineup of owned and operated events continues to grow with the addition of the Cancun Governor’s Cup (eight men’s basketball teams, debuted in Dec.) and the Warrior Classic (four men’s lacrosse teams, debuted in April).  Multiyear agreements were renewed with all seven of its bowl games and eight basketball events. 
  • ESPN Content Development continued to earn industry praise and recognition for the critically acclaimed “30 for 30” film series with acceptance to the prestigious Sundance, Tribeca, South by Southwest, Cannes and Toronto Film Festivals.  The series climaxed with ESPN’s most-watched documentary, Pony Exce$$, and contributed 19 of the network’s 25 most-watched all time. 
  • ESPN The Magazine was reimagined, taking on a deep-dive, single-topic format that has further positioned it as a leader in the industry.  Highlights included the second annual Body Issue, for which ad sales rose 22 percent over its first year, to the Film Issue featuring Olympic medalist Lindsay Vonn as Sharon Stone’s Basic Instinct character on the cover. The Magazine also debuted an iPad application and grew ESPN Insider 20 percent.
  • ESPN Books released 11 titles under the joint imprint Ballantine and ESPN Books, highlighted by two New York Times Bestsellers: Mike Greenberg & Mike Golic’s Mike and Mike’s Rules For Sports and Life which debuted at #5 and Bill Simmons’ The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy (paperback), which debuted at #9.
  • ESPN RISE – a multiplatform business serving high school student-athletes – made significant strides in its second full year.  ESPN RISE Magazine, Guy Edition expanded to cover 21 states.  The brand deepened its commitment to female athletes with new events, expanded female-specific content at ESPNRISE.com, and increased frequency and circulation of ESPN RISE Magazine, Girl Edition. New events included the ESPN RISE H.S. Football Kickoff (eight televised games), and The ESPN RISE Games (64 hours of programming) grew from 3,500 to 14,000 participants.  ESPN RISE introduced mobile products and a significant social media presence with 150,000 teen fans on Facebook.
  • espnW launched, a digital and content-driven business for women 18-34 offering sports and athlete-centric content, with a web site, mobile applications and social media, with more planned for 2011.

INTERNATIONAL 

ESPN International spans over 200 countries and territories on all seven continents and includes 46 television networks reaching over 350 million subscribers in 16 languages, plus wireless, interactive, print, radio, broadband, event management and consumer products.  This year, most activity focused on Europe and Central/South America. 

  • In Europe, ESPN operates three television networks – ESPN (UK), the live local sports channel; ESPN America (pan-European, three feeds), with the best in North American sport and since March its own edition of SportsCenter; and ESPN Classic (pan-European, 5 feeds, multiple languages), dedicated to the greatest moments in sport.  ESPN and ESPN America have HD simulcasts, the latter debuted in the Nordics in January, in the UK in June and in Germany/ Austria in October.   ESPN UK acquired The FA Cup, Aviva Premiership Rugby, as well as top European soccer, including Italian Serie A, UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers for European powers Germany and France and more.  The network also began importing the MLS, NBA and Monday Night Football.  Ratings for Barclays Premier League matches rose 25 percent, Scottish Premier League ratings grew 65 percent and Europa League were up 23 percent. 
  • Beyond television, in Europe ESPN also acquired UK rights to Barclays Premier League mobile video clips and launched “ESPN Goals” – delivering live scores, news and highlights.  It is the first place on any media to see all goals from all 380 Barclay’s Premier League matches within minutes of the action on the pitch,  It is available to UK mobile users as an App on iPhone, Android and Nokia devices and as a mobile site on all UK networks. Online, ESPN.co.uk  and ESPNF1.com, dedicated to Formula One auto racing, launched in January, joining ESPNcricinfo.com, ESPNscrum.com, ESPNsoccernet.com, as well as the pan-European broadband service ESPN Player.  
  • In Central and South America, multimedia developments met with success, most notably – and not surprisingly – with the World Cup.  The tournament was a ratings and advertising hit, with an extensive commitment of programming and commentators in South Africa.  ESPN obtained the broadcast rights to the Olympic Games in 2010 and 2012, the first time the company offered the Olympics to Spanish-speaking audience in the region.  Other key acquisitions were Barclays Premier League, La Liga Argentina, and other top European soccer.  The company’s first pan-regional Spanish-language HD network debuted, and in Brazil, ESPN HD and ESPN360.com expanded distribution.  The revamped ESPN.com.br saw a 42 percent increase in unique visitors.  In Argentina, ESPN Play (broadband) launched, ESPN 107.9 debuted as the first FM station in Buenos Aires with a mix of sports and music, as did ESPN Yearbook, a sports-themed magazine.  In Mexico, ESPN launched the market’s first 24/7 HD sports network.       

SALES & MARKETING

  • The Affiliate Sales and Marketing team’s year was highlighted by a groundbreaking agreement with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks to extend and expand current and new ABC, Disney and ESPN networks and services.  An agreement with Verizon FiOS added similar services.  ESPN Goal Line launched as part of the new agreements, a network taking fans to top college football games every Saturday.  ESPN Buzzer Beater, a similar service for college basketball, will launch in January 2011.  Also through those agreements, ESPN launched the first 24/7 authenticated network by allowing access to the network online and ultimately on tablets and internet-connected phones, to be followed by ESPN2, ESPNU, Goal Line and Buzzer Beater.  TWC and BH also launched ESPN3.com.
  • Carriage of ESPN 3D expanded to 62.5 million homes, adding AT&T U-Verse, Comcast, DIRECTV and TWC.    
  • The key development on the ad sales front was securing new sponsors for ESPN’s first year presenting all Bowl Championship Series games in January 2011, including new title sponsors for the Rose and Orange Bowls (VIZIO and Discover, respectively).  The group unveiled ESPN CreativeWorks, a service to develop custom co-branded and client-branded creative across all screens and devices specifically targeted to sports fans, and introduced new technology to increase digital inventory and enhance flexibility in tailoring it to meet client needs.  Two TV-specific applications were developed — ESPN Next Level and ESPN ScoreCenter — currently available on Samsung Internet enabled TVs.  Freewheel and DoubleClick digital video and display advertising systems were implemented.
  • In consumer marketing, the company’s extensive efforts at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa were supported by a massive multimedia campaign.  Also, a new brand campaign was introduced – “It’s Not Crazy, It’s Sports,” designed to be a conversation with fans about what makes sports inspiring, entertaining and dramatic.  The department received several industry Marketing awards, including five Mark Awards, the industry’s top honor.
  • Efforts to advance media research were accelerated by ESPN XP, a new initiative unprecedented in scope to measure consumer use of media and advertiser effects across all media, beginning with the World Cup.  Groundbreaking research around cord cutting and 3D viewing was announced.  The Media and Advertising Lab made great strides in supporting advertising and content strategies.

TECHNOLOGY

ESPN continued to emphasize innovative technology to enhance the fan’s enjoyment and understanding of sports and to find new ways to deliver it.  The company’s leadership was recognized by Fast Company magazine, being named no. 1 on its list of the Most Innovative Companies in sports. 

  • ESPN 3D, the nation’s first 3D network, launched in June with 100 events scheduled for its first year.
  • PVI and Vistas, Inc. were each acquired to bolster development of virtual applications.
  • Ultimate Uplink debuted on an ABC NBA broadcast in February, a hologram-type production element offering immediate reaction with newsmakers in a more engaging manner.
  • On-air virtual applications expanded with the development of NBA Player Card, Putt Zone, Virtual Pitch and Center Circle to give fans more insight from commentators who now can a more detailed level of analysis.
  • Full Sail University Sports Lab Powered by ESPN was created to develop new technology enhancements such as virtual applications, and to provide students at the Orlando campus the opportunity to work alongside ESPN’s emerging technology team to gain real-world experience.   

OWNED EVENTS

  • For the third year in a row, the Winter X Games was ESPN’s highest-rated and most-watched (up 22 percent).  X Games 16 TV coverage increased to 31 live hours (up from 20), with eight on ESPN 3D, plus ESPN3.com, ESPN.com/Action, ESPN Mobile TV and distribution to 382 million homes in 175 nations and territories.  Both events set attendance records.  In March, France was home to the first Winter X Games outside the U.S.
  • The ESPYS returned to a live format and the TV audience grew 12 percent, thanks to large increases in both reach and time spent viewing among men 18-34.
  • From responding to Haiti disaster relief in January to collecting holiday gifts in December, Team ESPN was in action throughout the year.  The Winter X group produced a poignant spot with athletes asking fans to support the children of Haiti.  Jimmy V Week won the Association for Cable Communicators’ Beacon Award for cause-marketing, and employees raised $3 million for The V Foundation for Cancer Research through ESPN’s media and events. Team ESPN also expanded its Veterans Week effort, raising funds and collecting items for troops and veterans hospitals. 

TEAM ESPN

  • From responding to Haiti disaster relief in January to collecting holiday gifts in December, Team ESPN was in action throughout the year.  The Winter X group produced a poignant spot with athletes asking fans to support the children of Haiti.  Jimmy V Week won the Association for Cable Communicators’ Beacon Award for cause-marketing, and employees raised $3 million for The V Foundation for Cancer Research through ESPN’s media and events. Team ESPN also expanded its Veterans Week effort, raising funds and collecting items for troops and veterans hospitals. 

2010 in Review

Jan.         1       The Rose Bowl earned a 13.2 rating on ABC, up 12 percent from 2009.

               2       The Alamo Bowl – Texas Tech over Michigan State – is ESPN’s most-watched bowl game, headlining the network’s most-watched bowl season.

               3       ESPN starts the year with its most-watched week (Dec. 28 – Jan. 3), in both total day (avg. 1,708,000 HHs) and in prime time (4,443,000 HHs).

               5       ESPN 3D is announced, to debut June 11 with a FIFA World Cup contest, South Africa vs. Mexico, the first of 85 events in the first year.  Others include more World Cup matches, NBA, college sports and Summer X Games.

               7       The BCS Championship (Alabama 37-21 over Texas) is the most-watched since 2006 (Texas-USC), the last time the game aired on ABC.

            13         ESPN announces 14 of its 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup races will air on ESPN, up from six, with the other three remaining on ABC on Saturdays in prime time.

            19         ESPN acquires Vistas Unlimited, Inc., a company with extensive experience and an Emmy Award for on-screen graphics and virtual technology in sports.

    28 – 31                     For the third year in a row, ESPN’s Winter X Games telecasts were the highest-rated and most-watched (up 22%).  Attendance in Aspen was also a new high.

            31         ESPN’s Pro Bowl telecast is the highest-rated and most-watched in a decade (8.2 rating; 8,123,000 homes).  Households were up 39% over ’09 on NBC.

Feb.     13         The season-opening NASCAR Nationwide Series race from Daytona on ESPN2 – Danica Patrick’s NASCAR debut – is the series’ most-watched race ever on cable, 3.17 million homes, based on a 3.2 rating.          

            25         ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is officially the new name of the re-imagined sports facilities at Walt Disney World, opened in 1997.

March   1          SportsCenter debuts on ESPN America, seen in the UK, Ireland, Europe and Middle East.  Produced in Connecticut, it is the first local SportsCenter in Europe.

               1       ESPNU is now seen in 70.4 million homes.  Just 15 months earlier, distribution had been 22 million.

            22         ESPN XP announced, a research initiative unprecedented in scope to measure consumer use of media usage and advertiser effects across all media.

            29         DIRECTV becomes the first distributor of ESPN 3D.

            29         ESPN UK announces it will carry Monday Night Football.

April        2       ESPNNewYork.com debuts.

               3       ESPN apps debut on the Apple I-Pad, on sale today — ScoreCenter XL, similar to the popular iPhone app, delivers live audio, video highlights and extensive and personalized stats and news; and the game ESPN Pinball. 

               3       ESPN Sports Saturday debuts on ABC, 4-6 p.m. weekly, with a one-hour ESPN specials or documentaries followed by the new Winners Bracket.

               4       ESPN3.com is the new name of broadband ESPN360.com, with enhanced video and functions for video, news, stats interactivity and social networking.

               8       The opening round of the Masters – Tiger Woods’ return to competitive golf – is the most-watched golf telecast in cable history with viewers (P2+) up 47%.  Usage increased greatly for ESPN.com, ESPN3.com and ESPN Mobile TV.

            22         The NFL Draft first round – debuting in prime time– is ESPN’s most watched, while digital usage that weekend soared – visits to ESPN.com NFL content up 40% (up 150% on mobile web) and  NFL video starts up 47%.

            26         ESPN wins seven Sports Emmy Awards, including the first two ever for E:60.

May      12         ESPN 3D secures its first cable affiliation, with Comcast, the nation’s largest provider.  Select events will also be available via VOD.

June     11         The first of 64 FIFA World Cup matches in South Africa marks the debut of ESPN 3D and month of unprecedented resources devoted to one event.

            14         ESPN3.com and Microsoft announce live events and on-demand highlights and news will be on the Xbox 360 console for LIVE Gold members in November.

            17         The NBA Finals on ABC conclude with a 15.6 rating for Game 7, the highest for any NBA game since 1998.  ABC won the night all seven nights and the series was the highest-rated since 2003.

            23         The 1-0 victory for the U.S. over Algeria is ESPN’s highest-rated and most-watched soccer game, a 4.6 rating, 4,582,000 homes and 6,161,000 viewers.

July         8       ESPN and the ACC announce a 12-year agreement for rights to all conference football and men’s basketball games, plus all other sports and conference championships across virtually all ESPN platforms in the U.S. and abroad.

               7       The Germany-Spain semifinal in the FIFA World Cup is ESPN3.com’s most popular event ever with an average of 355,000 viewers.  The month-long event drove tremendous traffic to all of ESPN’s digital properties.

               8       ESPN televises The Decision, free agent LeBron James’ announcement choosing to play for the Miami Herald, earning a 7.0 rating.

            11         The FIFA World Cup championship – Spain 1-0 over the Netherlands in extra time – on ABC is the most-watched Men’s World Cup game (15,545,000 viewers, based on an 8.1 rating).  The rating for 64 games was up 31% from 2006

            13         The 10th annual ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic, a Team ESPN event in Industry Hills, Calif., combined with ESPN Radio’s “Don’t Give Up ESPYs V Foundation Auction,” raised $1.63 million for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

            14         ESPYs aired live for the first time in seven years, viewership rises 12 percent.

July 29 –

     Aug. 1                     ESPN’s 31 hours of live X Games (up from 20) includes eight on ESPN 3D, plus ESPN3.com, ESPN.com/Action, ESPN Mobile TV and distribution to 382 million homes in 175 nations and territories.  Attendance rose 24% to a new record.

July      25         Jon Miller receives the Ford C. Frick Award at the Baseball Hall of Fame for “excellence in baseball broadcasting.”

Aug.        6       Chris Berman receives the Pete Rozelle Radio-TV Award at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, recognizing “long-time exceptional contributions.”

            17         ESPN introduces local-based apps for the iPhone and iPod touch available on iTunes, giving fans in Dallas, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York access to breaking news, scores and information from their hometown teams.

Sept.       2       In an extensive agreement with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, new offerings include viewing ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU via Broadband; ESPN Goal Line, a network taking fans to top college football games every Saturday; and ESPN Buzzer Beater, a similar college basketball service.

            27         ESPN launches ESPNU College Town, a sports-themed game on Facebook, the first ESPN product from the recent Disney acquisition of Playdom.

            30         espnW is announced to launch Spring 2011 (later moved to Dec. 6) – primarily a digital product suite including pc web, mobile web, mobile applications and social media to serve, inspire and inform the female athlete and fan.

Oct.         3       ESPN – and the family of networks collectively — posted its most-watched fiscal year and tied its record fiscal year rating, set 20 years ago.

            27         ESPN America launches an HD service in Germany on Sky Deutschland.

Nov.     18         Full Sail University Sports Lab Powered by ESPN is announced at the school’s Florida campus, a research/development facility of tv technologies.

            28         ESPN posts its most-watched month in history, averaging 1.189 million homes in November, besting September 2009 (1.164 million).

Dec.     11         The critically acclaimed “30 for 30” film series climaxes with the biggest audience for an ESPN documentary – 1,843,000 homes – for Pony Exce$$.

            13         ESPN acquires substantially all of the intellectual property of PVI Virtual Media Services to augment use of virtual technology across multiple platforms. 

            25         ABC’s three NBA games and ESPN’s two set Christmas Day audience records, led by Miami at L.A. Lakers on ABC (6.4 rating, highest on the network in regular season in six years and up 45% from Cleveland-Lakers in 2009).

            26         ESPN and ESPN2 each top 2009 for its most-watched year (Nielsen calendar).  For ESPN, the fourth quarter was its most watched quarter ever. The year’s combined audience for ESPN networks (adding ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic and ESPN Deportes) is also a new high.

            27         Monday Night Football ends its best season yet on ESPN with the third-most watched show in cable history (New Orleans-Atlanta), excluding breaking news and again is cable’s most-watched series.

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Media Contact: ESPN Communications (860) 766-2232