Disney CEO Bob Chapek talks about ESPN as activist investor Daniel Loeb pressured the company to spin off the sports network.
“There’s a reason we love ESPN,” Chapek told KristenBellTattoos.com.
He added: “There are so many aspects to the sport and we are passionate about it and we have a plan.”
Chapek’s comments came after Loeb suggested that Disney spin off ESPN to “carry out business initiatives that could be more complex within Disney, such as sports betting.”
The Disney CEO added that “when the world thought maybe ESPN was up for sale,” they “got a lot of inquiries” from “organizations asking if we were ready to sell them to them.”
“That says something about the power of the sport and the advertising business when you have such a large audience that needs to watch it at the moment. News and sports are the only two things you should be watching at this moment,” he explained. “So if you have a vision for the future that the rest of the world doesn’t necessarily agree with yet, then you keep ESPN. You own ESPN and you have a full suite of general entertainment, family news, sports that no other entertainment company can touch.”
Chapek rejected the idea of selling to ESPN as they seem to have a vision for how to make it work for the Disney portfolio.
In addition, Loeb recently eased the pressure to spin off the sports chain and gave Disney the benefit of the doubt.
“We better understand the potential of @espn as a standalone business and another vertical for $DIS to reach a global audience for ad revenue and subscribers. We look forward to seeing Mr. Pitaro complete the growth,” he said. tweeted. “and innovative plans that create significant synergies within The Walt Disney Company.”