Media & Advertising
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CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER
- 2018 The Environmental Leadership Award
Report created by Katerina Vargova
ESPN, Inc., The Worldwide Leader in Sports, is the leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring the broadest portfolio of multimedia sports assets with over 50 business entities.
ESPN, Inc. is the leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment brand featuring the broadest portfolio of multimedia sports assets.
Sports media assets include ESPN on ABC, six domestic cable television networks, ESPN HD and ESPN2 HD, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (31 international networks and syndication), ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN Zones (sports-themed restaurants licensed by ESPN), and other growing new businesses including ESPN360.com (Broadband), ESPN Mobile Properties (wireless), ESPN On Demand, ESPN Interactive and ESPN PPV. ESPN launched on September 7, 1979, and is 80 % owned by ABC, Inc., an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. Hearst holds a 20 % interest.
Key U.S. Programming
- SportsCenter: ESPN’s first and flagship show defines the sports news genre. It offers breaking news, highlights, features and in-depth analysis from award-winning journalists. Viewership: averages up to 115 million viewers a month.
- NFL’s Monday Night Football; MLB; NBA (The Finals on ABC); college football including the College Football Playoff; men’s and women’s college basketball, including the women’s NCAA Tournament; tennis’ Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open, all start to finish; The Masters; WNBA; Little League World Series; more. Daily and weekly sport-specific studio shows for NFL, MLB, NBA and college football and basketball. Critically acclaimed and award-winning documentaries and original programming including the “30 for 30” films.
- ESPN+ is the multi-sport, direct-to-consumer video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment and ESPN. It reaches 8.5 million subscribers and offers fans thousands of live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks, along with premium editorial content. They are the industry-leading all-in-one digital sports platform, delivering a rich, personalized experience to tens of millions of fans every month.
- ESPN Audio consists of ESPN Radio, the county’s largest sports radio network; operated stations in New York and Los Angeles; ESPN Podcasts and ESPN Deportes Radio.In addition to popular sports talk shows which are simulcast on TV, event programming includes NFL, NBA, MLB and college football and basketball.
- ESPN’s Digital properties include ESPN.com, launched in 1995 and the world’s leading online sports service.
- ESPN International reaches sports fans in 71 countries and territories across all seven continents. Business entities include TV, radio, digital, consumer products and event management. In addition, to marquee U.S. and major international sports, there are 11 local versions of SportsCenter in three languages — Spanish, Portuguese, and English. Offices or production facilities include Amsterdam, Bangalore, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, London, Mexico City, Miami, Melbourne, Mumbai, New York, São Paulo, Singapore, Sydney, Toronto and Bristol, Conn.
- ESPN Events owns and operates more than 30 events, highlighted by 14 college bowl games and 11 college basketball events.
- ESPN Consumer Products offer fans high-quality collections inspired by compelling content, unique marketing campaigns and ESPN’s trademark personality at a variety of retail channels. Categories include branded and co-branded apparel and accessories, sporting goods, and indoor/outdoor recreation. X Games event merchandise is available on-site and online as well as bikes, skateboards, scooters and arcade games that celebrate the best in action sports.
- In Orlando, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is a leading multi-sport venue for amateur and pro sports, hosting 100 events yearly, several of which are presented on ESPN platforms. Also in Orlando, the ESPN Club is on The Boardwalk at Walt Disney World.
Company Sustainability Activity
As a part of the Walt Disney family, ESPN does not publish an annual sustainability report on their own. However, ESPN’s initiative ESPN CItizenship is annually publishing Corporate Citizenship Report which tackles ESPN’s sustainable activities.
ESPN is committed to minimizing its environmental footprint, improving the health of the planet and inspiring others to do the same. Their support for the environment is infused throughout the company, driving building design, procurement decisions and event logistics. They also actively manage energy, water and waste consumption.
ESPN strives to reduce its impact on the environment through careful use of natural resources. Initiatives have included LEED compliance for new construction and renovations, installation of solar panels, upgraded lighting fixtures, modified air conditioning and heating operations, and the installation of motion sensors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Additionally, they work with Bristol campus food vendors to recover prepared food from cafeteria locations around campus and donate that food to local food pantries. The statement declares that their commitment to sustainability extends into the communities where they engage with fans. ESPN reduces the impact of their events including College GameDay, ESPYS, espnW Summit and X Games, through waste minimization, the use of renewable resources and environmentally conscious products, and pollution prevention.
- Achieved Disney’s commitment to eliminate plastic straws, stirrers, and foam cups throughout their operations,
- ESPN’s “40,000 Acts of Service” campaign to inspire employees to give back to sports fans through service and engagement, ultimately resulted in more than 80,000 acts in celebration of ESPN’s 40th anniversary.
- In 2019, ESPN reached the milestone of helping raise more than $100 million for the V Foundation for Cancer Research – through the generous contributions of employees, partners, and sports fans – to bring awareness and funds for cancer research.
(Source: The Walt Disney Company 2019 Corporate Social Responsibility Update)
- Reduce net emissions by 50% from 2012 levels
- Achieve 60% waste diverted from landfills and incineration
- Contribute more than 5 million hours of employee community service through the Disney VoluntEARS program
- Achieve 85% of globally licensed wholesale food sales dedicated to everyday foods that meet Disney’s Nutrition Guidelines
- Globally, all Disney controlled advertising on kid-focused media platforms and Disney-owned online destinations oriented to families with younger children will be with food and beverages that meet Disney’s Nutrition Guidelines.
(Source: The Walt Disney Company 2019 Corporate Social Responsibility Update)
- Disney reduced net emissions by 47% from 2012 levels
- Achieved a 57% diversion rate of operational waste, generated from Disney’s theme parks & resorts, studios, and office locations
- Disney VoluntEARS provided 612,300 hours of volunteer service in the form of skills, time, and effort, bringing the total to nearly 4.6 million hours of Disney VoluntEARS service since 2012
- Continued to meet the 85% guideline for licensed wholesale food sales in North America and globally
UN Sustainable Development Goals
UN SDGs Compliance
- From ESPN’s report “The Power of Sports 2019 Corporate Citizenship Report” is seen that the company engages with SDG 3 by building the sports courts and fields, encouraging children’s love for sports, and promoting sports activities focused especially on children. A good example is ESPN’s campaign Don’t Retire, Kid which helps parents and coaches to keep children motivated.
- ESPN trains teachers on how to use sports as a means to improve educational success. Almost 228 thousand youth received access to educational programming using a sports platform.
- ESPN engages with SDG 5 when they launched Sports 4 Life in collaboration with the Women’s Sports Foundation. The goal is to increase the participation and retention of African American and Hispanic girls in sports. The program also teaches girls important skills such as leadership, self-esteem and confidence.
- ESPN addresses SDG 10 through 3 strategic pillars: market (authentic storytelling relevant to diversifying audience), culture (building inclusive culture), people (through attracting, developing, engaging and retaining talented people).
- ESPN works forward to SDG 7 and through initiatives that include LEED compliance for new construction and renovation, and by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- ESPN is promoting sustainable practices in communities where they engage with their sports fans. Their ESPYS Award is produced in an environmentally responsible way (carbon-neutral, waste management, use of recycled materials).
Secondary SDGs: 6, 7, 8, 12, 14, 15, 16
ESPN has no major certificates, has some awards and concentrates on some sustainable activities – mostly linked to sports.
ESPN is a part of the Walt Disney family and lacks transparency – is not clear which activities are led by ESPN or on which activities ESPN followed from their parent company.
ESPN provides information on sustainability but lack major information such as clear information on the UN SDGs. UN SDGs compliance are implicitly mentioned in “The Power of Sports 2019 Corporate Citizenship Report”. They are not transparent enough, they don’t communicate explicit activities on SDGs, and has no key performance indicators.
ESPN has made efforts to incorporate sustainability, however their efforts are minimal, as seen in their report.
ESPN has been rated a C.
Analyst Outlook: Negative
ESPN does not have a comprehensive policy tackling SDGs. Main sustainable activities are focused on sports communities and children. Thanks to the Corporate Citizenship initiative, it is evident that some of their sustainable activities in these areas have an impact.
ESPN is reducing greenhouse emissions, switching to renewable resources, and minimizing their carbon footprint. They received an award and are a part of LEED, but they lack transparency and other certifications, therefore negative outlook.
- ESPN is a part of the Walt Disney Company – ESPN does not have a comprehensive policy tackling SDGs. Main sustainable activities are reported through the Walt Disney Corporate Social Responsibility Updates.
- Some of ESPN’s sustainable activities are implicitly reported through ESPN Citizenship initiative which encompasses multi-faceted community initiatives, including employee volunteerism, charitable giving, cause marketing and sustainability, while also utilizing ESPN’s media assets to reach and uplift diverse communities.
- Corporate Citizenship: ESPN believes that, at its very best, sports uplifts the human spirit. Its corporate citizenship programs use the power of sport to positively address society’s needs through strategic community investments, cause marketing programs, collaboration with sports organizations and employee volunteerism, while also utilizing its diverse media assets.