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CNBC's Jerry Cobb reported live yesterday from the grand opening of the first ESPN - The Store in Glendale, CA. Cobb: "Disney calls it a possible prototype, but judging from the fanfare of Tuesday's opening, there's nothing tentative about ESPN - The Store." Disney Stores President Tom Heymann: "We're looking to get everybody of all ages; sports fans from the youngest to the oldest, both men and women, and we have products that really appeal to everybody" ("Business Tonight," 9/16). In L.A., George White wrote that the store is the "latest player in an increasingly crowded 'retail-tainment' arena," that includes other chain stores from Disney, Warner Bros., Viacom and the Discovery Channel. Disney CEO Michael Eisner: "[T]he entertainment store is a risky concept. This (venture) is not a shoo-in." White wrote that "the continuing spread" of such stores "could lead to problems," such as price-cutting. White also added that "the novelty may wear off." ESPN's store will offer company logoed merchandised, clothing/collectibles, and sporting equipment, such as mountain bikes and skateboards with the X-Games brand name (L.A. TIMES, 9/16).
ESPN and ESPN2 will broadcast the new Pro Beach Hockey series beginning June 1, 1998, and will broadcast 26 one- hour original telecasts during the first year of a three year commitment. The initial Pro Beach Hockey season will feature 35 game tournament taped weekends from Huntington Beach, CA, May 2-24, and the broadcast schedule includes re- airs on ESPN2 bringing exposure to a total of 81 telecasts during the first season (ESPN). X MARKS THE SPOT: ESPN has selected Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado as the host site for the 1998 ESPN Winter X Games, January 15-18. Last year's Games were held at Snow Summit Resort in Big Bear Lake, Calif (ESPN).