Gov. Malloy Announces ESPN is Third "First Five" Project
Bristol Company Breaks Ground on Digital Center 2; Continues To Expand in Connecticut
(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced ESPN of Bristol is the next Connecticut company to take advantage of the state's newest economic development program called "First Five."
As part of its expansion, the sports media company broke ground on the new Digital Center 2, the 19th and largest building on ESPN's Bristol, Conn. campus. ESPN's commitment will create a minimum of 200 new full-time jobs within five years, with incentives for up to 800, and reaffirms the company's baseline of more than 3,800 full-time employees in Connecticut.
"ESPN is an iconic Connecticut company, one that began with a handful of employees and has now grown into one of the giants in media and a worldwide leader in sports reporting and programming, employing thousands. With this investment in ESPN, Connecticut's reputation as a leading state in which to do media business is further strengthened," said Governor Malloy. "Under the 'First Five' program, I want to ensure that the state will support innovative companies, no matter how big or how small, if they continue to create jobs and make capital investments that will directly benefit the economy."
Following its construction of two productions facilities, one in Los Angeles and, most recently, in Austin, Texas, ESPN plans to invest more than $100 million for its new Digital Center 2 building, a 193,000-square foot facility to be located adjacent to the existing Digital Center. The new building will greatly increase the company's production capacity and flexibility for new digital media formats and emerging technology. It will house four studios, six production control rooms, 26 edit rooms and more on four levels, dedicated to a variety of U.S. and international studio programming. Notably, Digital Center 2 will be the new home of ESPN's flagship program, SportsCenter .
In support of ESPN's capital investment and the commitment to retain and create full-time jobs in Connecticut, the state will provide:
A 10-year, $17.5 million loan from the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) for the construction of the facility and the creation of at least 200 jobs.
Up to $1.2 million to fund a job training grant program ranging from $300,000 for 200 jobs created to $150,000 for each additional 100 jobs created up to 800 jobs. Job training will be developed based on ESPN's needs.
The Connecticut Development Authority may also assist with up to $6 million in sales use tax exemptions on capital equipment and construction materials.
"Digital Center 2 represents an exciting new chapter in ESPN's continued growth in Connecticut," said Ed Durso, ESPN Executive Vice President, Administration. "It will help reshape how we deliver our content to sports fans. With great, ongoing support from state and local officials, ESPN is proud to be part of the 'First Five' initiative."
The "First Five" program is designed to attract large-scale business development projects by augmenting and combining the state's best incentive and tax credit programs for the first five companies that create 200 new jobs within two years, or invest $25 million and create 200 new jobs within five years.
"This new partnership with ESPN is the latest example of the state's proactive approach to supporting companies and industries that are important to its long-term economic health," said Catherine Smith, commissioner of DECD. "Digital media is an emerging sector, one that requires an innovative, tech-savvy workforce. With the 'First Five' program and the film tax credits, Connecticut is positioning itself as a primary location for the industry, spurring jobs, growing the economy, and developing smart, creative workers in the process."
For more information about the "First Five" program, visit http://governor.ct.gov/firstfive .
ESPN, Inc., is the world's leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of more than 50 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of seven 24-hour domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes and ESPN 3D). ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPNEWS HD are simulcast services. Other businesses include ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (46 networks, syndication, radio, websites), ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN3.com (broadband sports network) ESPN Mobile, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN PPV and other growing new businesses, including ESPN on Demand and ESPN Interactive. Based in Bristol, Conn., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.