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Disney takes its name off Wide World of Sports complex

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Published: September 24, 2008 at 10:51 AM

The news is out today that Disney is taking its name of the Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World... in favor of branding the complex to its subsidiary ESPN.

Disney spokespersons said that renaming the complex the "ESPN Wide World of Sports" will help it to draw more than the 1.2 million spectators it did last year.

From my point of the view, the rebranding makes sense. I never felt that the Wide World of Sports complex, with its baseball stadium, basketball arena and other sports fields, was much of a draw for the average theme park visitor. What it was perfect for, though, was sports fans, for whom ESPN is just about the most powerful brand going. The sports complex hosts spring training baseball, an NFL training camp, minor league baseball and a variety of college and amateur sports events.

It's not a sport-themed park. It is a sports park. Bag the Disney name, go with ESPN.

Readers' Opinions

From Corey Romberg on September 24, 2008 at 11:51 AM
I agree. The re-branding is a good move. Disney should take advantage of owning ESPN as much as possible, especially when you have a Sports Complex like this. I dont think its going to draw people to come just to vsiit the ESPN Wide World of Sports, but it should draw more sports fans who are already at Disney World, with the ESPN name and brand attached.
From Tim W on September 24, 2008 at 12:14 PM
I think it is a good move and the name suits it better
From Anthony Murphy on September 24, 2008 at 2:17 PM
ESPN? Disney? I really do not see it being much of a difference. Personally, I enjoyed the "Wild World of Sports" title and thats staying. Is it going to remain the same more or less? While it isn't too exciting to the average tourist, its not too shabby of a place. Really nice, in my opinion and there is always something goin on. I would like to see an Ice Rink though
From Corey Romberg on September 24, 2008 at 2:52 PM
Here is more news about the ESPN re-branding, from the Disney Cast Portal:

"Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises, spoke about the growth of Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex and announced the facility soon will be re-branded as ESPN Wide World of Sports at the Walt Disney World Resort. In addition to the name change, Ken explained that some future opportunities for growth between the ESPN and Disney brands may include broadcasting games and tournaments from the sports complex on Disney resort in-room television, as well as on ESPN-related Web sites.

Also coming to the ESPN Wide World of Sports at the Walt Disney World Resort facility will be a yet-to-be-named bowling center that will include 100 lanes - 72 of which will be tournament-quality lanes. The center will be built on the sports complex's property and is set to open in 2010. The Walt Disney World Resort also has made a partnership with the U.S. Bowling Congress, which has agreed to bring their men's and women's tournaments to the facility for the next 30 years, beginning in 2011. "

The idea of broadcasting youth tournaments online and in hotel rooms is a great idea! It'll be awesome for those kids, and especially family and friends who couldnt make it to be able to watch live online

From Tim W on September 24, 2008 at 3:47 PM
Espn fits the sports more than disney. and since it is a subsidary they minus well use it. i would love to see this however get more interactive.
From Anthony Murphy on September 24, 2008 at 7:13 PM
Corey, that makes it even better! I just hope they keep up the good work at the WWOS Complex since it was one thing that seems to be pretty successful
From Amy Tupper on September 25, 2008 at 5:11 AM
Might be nice if they added an "ESPN Zone" there as well, with a restaurant and such.
From Corey Romberg on September 25, 2008 at 7:32 AM
Well they do have the All Star Cafe right next to Champion Stadium, so that may recieve somewhat of an ESPN theme, but keep in mind, they do have ESPN Club at the Boardwalk which is just a smaller version of ESPN Zone
From Raul Araoz on September 25, 2008 at 8:01 AM
An ESPN Zone is, in fact, being planned for WWOS. It will replace the All-Star Cafe. The name change is a start, but Disney needs to do more to make guests want to visit. I have still never been there on my many trips to WDW. The bowling lanes are a good start. The skating rink is a good idea. They should also move one of the mini-golf attractions over there and maybe put updated versions of those sports exhibits from Wonders of Life there as well.
From Corey Romberg on September 25, 2008 at 9:33 AM
I like the idea of a skating rink, and it could themed to the Mighty Ducks...I know thats Disney, not ESPN, but again they are one in the same...the ESPN name is trying to attract older fans, but they still have to bring in the younger ones...it is still Disney World after all

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