In a Businessweek cover story, Karl Taro Greenfeld, reports on ESPN’s ever-growing presence as a sports marketing behemoth: “The company’s revenues are growing at 9 percent a year, with a projected $8.2 billion in revenue in 2012, according to research firm SNL Kagan. Head count has doubled in the last seven years to 7,000 employees worldwide. ESPN earns one out of every four dollars earned by cable stations in America. According to SNL Kagan, ESPN charges its cable affiliates an average $5.13 per month for each of its 100 million subscribers (the industry average is about 20¢ per subscriber) while also taking in $2 billion a year in advertising revenue. Its projected 2013 revenue of close to $9 billion dwarfs cable players like Liberty Media (LMCA) and Tribune and puts it on par with traditional broadcast networks like CBS (CBS). The company’s president, John Skipper, attributes ESPN’s dominance to geography, a high tolerance for risk, and a culture of ‘build, build, build. There comes a time when a lot of businesses become calcified, but we never stop building.’”

Click the image for a Businessweek slide show on ESPN.


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