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ESPN Becomes Separate Unit in Disney Reorganization

  • ESPN becomes one of three global pillars.
  • ESPN’s Jimmy Pitaro picks up ESPN+ and international sports.
ESPN becomes a key pillar in Disney re-organization.
Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel

The Walt Disney Co. has announced a sweeping corporate reorganization that makes ESPN one of the three pillars of the global entertainment giant.

There’s been speculation the Mouse would spin off the sports network, but ESPN and chairman Jimmy Pitaro are emerging as key power players in the reorganized $82 billion company. 

ESPN will be one of three divisions, along with Disney Entertainment and Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products. 

  • Each segment will have full operational control and financial responsibility for creative development, marketing, technology, sales, and distribution.
  • Pitaro will oversee ESPN+ and international sports channels and eight linear TV networks, as well as manage sports content for Disney’s domestic and international platforms. 
  • “Our strategic restructuring will return creativity to the center of the company, increase accountability, improve results, and ensure the quality of our content and experiences,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger.

Disney’s revenues grew 8% to $23.5 billion for the three months ending Dec. 31, but it still expects to cut 7,000 jobs and slash $5.5 billion in costs. ESPN is expected to be impacted by the layoffs.

No ESPN Spinoff

Despite calls from activist investors, Iger said there are no plans to spin off ESPN.

“ESPN is a differentiator for this company,” Iger told analysts on an earnings call. “We just have to figure out how to monetize it.”

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