SBD/Closing Bell

ESPN Chair George Bodenheimer Talks "SportsCenter," Acquisitions

ESPN Chair George Bodenheimer sat down with Intersport CEO Charlie Besser for a one-on-one interview this morning at the Intersport Activation Summit in Chicago. The two discussed a range of topics, from the new competition that ESPN faces from upstarts like Fox Sports 1 to ESPN’s strategy for rights acquisition. Here are some of the highlights:

On "SportsCenter," Bodenheimer said, "I consider 'SportsCenter' the flagship, the backbone of ESPN. It’s been on the air literally from the first five minutes of our existence. …We produce 18 to 20 live hours of 'SportsCenter' a day, up from two to three when we first kicked off. It’s a lot harder to do that … than put out a press release saying you’re going to do that."

On rights acquisitions: "We always say to ourselves, 'You’re never going to go wrong with world class programming.' ... We feel we're on very firm ground by virtue of the acquisition strategy we’ve employed. Fortunately, we have a business model where, knock on wood, we’ll be able to finance that."

On the SEC Network: "It’s about as passionate as anything you can get in the world in terms of fanbase. We obviously think there’s an opportunity to expand our relationship with the SEC. We’re bullish on it. We think the fans are going to want the product and enjoy the product."

See upcoming issues of The Daily for more, and check out our On The Ground blog for updates.
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