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Saturday, March 2, 2024

ESPN Sale Could Be Worth $24B To Disney

  • Newly estimated valuation shows further growth for sports media giant
  • ESPN Bet sets definitive debut date of Nov. 14
ESPN microphone on press table
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Even in an age of historic media disruption, cord-cutting, and declining profit, the estimated value of ESPN continues to rise.

Two weeks after a newly released set of financials for the sports media giant prompted a $22 billion valuation for Disney’s sports business, an even higher figure has been tagged to ESPN.

A new research note from Bank of America Global Research said ESPN carries a value of $24 billion and will continue to attract potential investor interest from sports leagues, major technology companies including Apple, and telecommunications powers such as Verizon.

Many of those prospective suitors for an ESPN equity partnership have already been disclosed. But the latest research provides further support for ESPN’s ability to weather crises such as layoffs, industry-wide cord-cutting, carriage battles, and a potential sale of all of Disney’s linear properties.

Still, Bank of America conveyed some concern regarding ESPN.

“ESPN is still a strong business and a premier brand, but it sits at the nexus of possible major business transformation,” the company said. “Transitions have historically proven difficult and typically not conducive to significant growth.”

ESPN Bet Debut

ESPN has also set a definitive debut date of Nov. 14 for ESPN Bet, the new sportsbook it’s developing with PENN Entertainment. The November timing has long been expected, and PENN Entertainment previously said the debut in the middle of the NFL season “is actually great … We’re going to be able to make a lot of noise, get a lot of attention.”

ESPN Bet will be active in time for Thanksgiving weekend, which in most years produces some of the NFL’s most-watched games of the regular season. The sportsbook will initially go live in 17 states, including key markets such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

“SportsCenter” anchor Scott Van Pelt will be a featured figure in a new promotional campaign for ESPN Bet.

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