ESPN Sees Gold in Digital


ESPN President George Bodenheimer last week touted ESPN's wide range of media brand extensions and said that ESPN will grow them further as the digital landscape expands.

It's a lengthy list that includes its popular—and profitable—magazine and Web site, along with broadband and digital services. High-definition channel ESPN HD is slated for a spring launch.

The channel will feature most of ESPN's major properties: marquee pro sports and college football and basketball.

ESPN is investigating a video-on-demand play as well, possibly offering time-shifted games or regional targeting. Also, the network's extensive library could find a second home on VOD.

ESPN will no longer make sports-rights deals unless it also gets digital rights as a part of the package.

"We're interested in broad rights deals going forward," he said at the UBS Warburg media conference in New York City last week. "Those sports that won't, we'll part friends and go forward."