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ESPN IN THE ZONE: EXPANSION FUELED BY SUCCESS IN BALTIMORE

          The latest ESPN Zone located in Times Square held its
     grand opening party on Tuesday night.  Disney Chair Michael
     Eisner and Buena Vista Internet Group Chair Steve Bornstein
     were among those in attendance.  Others celebrating (and
     feasting on fine food) during the opening of the four-level
     destination included Wayne Gretzky and his wife, Janet, NHL
     Commissioner Gary Bettman, Martina Navratilova, Bill
     Russell, Jim Brown and the cast of "Spin City" (THE DAILY).
          A PROFIT CENTER: Walt Disney said that the ESPN Zone in
     Baltimore's Inner Harbor "has done twice the business
     expected" by drawing "more than 1 million visitors."  
     Disney Regional Entertainment President Art Levitt said the
     success of the Baltimore ESPN Zone was "magic" and it
     "surprised us at every level."  Levitt added if Baltimore
     "hadn't been as successful as it was, we wouldn't have
     proceeded" with expansion in Chicago and N.Y.  While Disney
     "has declined to provide financial details," MA-based State
     Street Research and Management entertainment analyst Larry
     Haverty "predicted that the ESPN Zones will have revenue" of
     $100M a year "within five or 10 years" (Balt. SUN, 9/15).

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