According to these reports, Disney is considering “strategic rationale” for spinning off ESPN.
“There are now conversations happening regularly at Disney about whether or not to spin off ESPN,” insider Dylan Byers wrote.
NEW @PuckNews: DISNEY is exploring whether or not there is a strategic rational for spinning off ESPN, two sources with knowledge of the matter tell me. “There are now conversations happening regularly at Disney about whether or not to spin off ESPN.” https://t.co/rHhFtRISeb
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) October 15, 2021
Former Disney CEO Bob Iger often brushed off talks of uncoupling with the sports entertainment network, but since taking over in 2020, new CEO Bob Chapek has reportedly considered the “increasingly apparent logic” of a possible spinoff. That logic stems from the belief that ESPN, who is currently locked into several longterm TV deals, will have a tougher time transitioning into the streaming world than some of Disney’s other partners (ABC, FX, NatGeo).
Iger was often referenced as an overly sentimental businessman. Chapek on the other hand is reportedly more interested in expanding the company from a mathematical standpoint.
“Chapek is not nearly so emotional: ‘He could give a s**t if ESPN has rights to the Rose Bowl,’ one source who knows him said. ‘He’s focused on moving the stock,'” Byers wrote.
This separation could also benefit ESPN with increasing opportunities in the the sports betting world. No longer under the Disney umbrella, the sports conglomerate would be freer to explore the ever expanding business.
No official decisions have been made, but it seems as though this split is at least being considered as a potential move in the future.