ESPN The Weekend Canceled

I’m at a bit of a loss to wrap my mind around this announcement made on the Disney Parks blog today — ESPN The Weekend has been canceled. The message from Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director at Walt Disney World, claims that Disney wants to concentrate on events like the ESPN RISE Games at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. But this leaves fans of ESPN personalities and professional sports figures in the lurch as neither will be available at ESPN WWOS tournament based events.

I think it’s a great idea for Disney to focus on getting the word out about ESPN WWOS. It’s a wonderful campus for youth and athletes to experience some of what it’s like to perform on a big stage, even to the point of simulated ESPN television coverage. There is a lot they could do there. But unless they add in more theme park elements, it will remain a niche park with a primary focus on sporting events.

The sports entertainment powerhouse that is ESPN and all its related properties drives a lot of profits into Disney’s coffers. ESPN The Weekend was a way of giving back to the fans and nurturing that community. If anything, Disney should be expanding by adding a second weekend during the off-season of the NBA and NHL so those athletes and their fans could attend.

Yes, I”m sure there is a big cost factor to importing, feeding, and housing all that talent. While I haven’t heard for sure, they way this usually works at Disney is one Division uses its marketing budget to foot the bill for expenses at the theme park. It may have been ESPN that decided to end the event, not the people at Disney parks.

Either way, I think it’s a bad move. What is your reaction?

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7 Responses to ESPN The Weekend Canceled

  1. I had been to three straight ESPN the Weekends: 2008, 2009, and 2010.

    Personally, I felt it was just time for it to end. 2008 was a ton of fun, featuring a host a big name athletes and really fun events. It was a great experience.

    By 2010 though, everything had gone downhill. Less and less big names showed up, the events (cough Dream Job cough) seemed dated and out of place, and the available events were just not as fun. Sure, the Jimmy V 5K added a nice touch to the weekend, but overall it seemed stale in 2010.

    I suspected that ESPN the Weekend would be cut soon after that 2010 trip, but I suspected that it wouldn’t be until Disney had the rights in Orlando to do a Marvel Comics weekend. I do think it was time. The fact that DHS no permanent ESPN theme structure (Like Star Tours is for Star Wars Weekends) also hurt the weekend. I don’t know if the fans were as into either, and I certainly saw less attendance in 2010 than I did in 2008. Just look at the line for Stump the Schawb.

    Maybe it could come back in a couple years after a retooling of the events of the weekend, but for now, I think it is time.

  2. Kris says:

    Cost cutting measure simple as that!

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  6. ESPN COME BACK TO DISNEY says:

    I feel that Disney should focus on bringing the ESPN partnership to the park all year round. That is a wonderful idea. On the other hand, ESPN the Weekend was a great way for sports fans to interact with their favorite players. People complain about “big name” athleats coming but it’s not about them. It’s about real athleats taking the time to give back to their fans. I think ESPN shoud insist on Disney to continue the weekend as well as throughout the year

  7. mark says:

    one of the sadess things i have heard.i have to saying,going to this event is the greatess time i have evewr had in my life and to see it taken away is like losing a family member.please bring it back.

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