SBD/3/Sports Media

POSITIVE SYNERGY? ESPN BRAND MAY BECOME MORE VISIBLE ON ABC

          Disney is "considering tying its successful ESPN sports
     channel more closely to ABC Sports - possibly replacing the
     ABC Sports moniker in some programming," according to
     Michael Stroud of BROADCASTING & CABLE.  A more visible
     linkage could give ABC Sports programming "stronger brand
     recognition," while giving extra exposure to the ESPN brand
     as Disney launches ESPN restaurants and retail stores. 
     Cowen & Co. analyst Harold Vogel called the possible
     scenario an "interesting example of the cable network tail
     wagging the broadcast network dog."  Since ESPN's "strong"
     profit has "helped to counter" ABC's "lesser" contribution
     to Disney's earnings, Stroud wrote that bolstering ESPN's
     role "makes fiscal sense."  Hearst Corp., which owns 20% of
     ESPN "would likely approve the plan," although support from
     ABC's union members "is less certain" (B&C, 3/2 issue). 

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Related Topics:

ABC, ESPN, Media, Walt Disney

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