SBD/23/Franchises

MICHAEL, ROW YOUR SPORTS A SHORE, HALLELUJAH

          Disney's sports empire is examined by USA TODAY's Bill
     Meyers, who writes, "Flexing its monetary muscle ... has
     enabled Disney to outpace corporate rivals such as Time
     Warner and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. as it builds the most
     powerful empire in the $200 billion sports world."  Disney
     Chair Michael Eisner: "Sports is entertainment.  It gives
     you continuing seasons, which is like Sequel City."  Meyers
     writes that it is Eisner "who has written the script for
     Disney's current sports success," between its ownership of
     the Angels and Mighty Ducks, its investment in ESPN, ESPN
     retail outlets and ESPN Magazine, and its $500M pact with
     major college bowls.  Eisner is also "integrating Disney's
     sports empire into its entertainment kingdom," and "blending
     ... athletics and entertainment" (USA TODAY, 1/23).

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