SBD/June 14, 2012/Media

ESPN To Forgo High School Sports Unit; Website, Magazines To Shutter

ESPN is shutting down its high school business, a move that will result in nearly 75 people losing their jobs across the country. ESPN launched the division in '08 as a way to get into the high school scene, but sources said that the business proved to be too locally focused and not broad enough. One third of the group's employees were based in Torrance, Calif., one third in Bristol and one third scattered across the country. As of mid-September, ESPN will close ESPNHS.com. Its two high school magazines -- one for boys and one for girls -- will not publish any more issues. ESPN Exec VP/Digital & Print Media John Kosner said, "By focusing our high school efforts around our televised game coverage and multiplatform recruiting content, we can serve the national interests of high school sports fans more effectively while continuing to provide robust content across ESPN media." As part of the move, ESPN no longer will organize its own high school events, but it still plans to cover high school sports. As many as 30 high-school football games are scheduled to run on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU this fall. It still plans to televise events like the Under Armour High School All-America Game (football) and the McDonald’s All-American Game (basketball). ESPNRecruitingNation.com will now handle high school recruiting, while espnW.com will pick up girls’ basketball content. Among the execs losing their positions are ESPN VP/HS Events Andrew Bark and VP/HS Business Strategy & Operations Glenn Rosenbloom.
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