While Disney built its legacy on animated characters and movies, the company really upped its income when it took on ESPN. According to a SEC filing on Wednesday (as per The Hollywood Reporter), ESPN raked in $16 billion in revenue during the company’s fiscal year of 2022, profiting $2.9 billion. This is in comparison to the House of Mouse’s TV networks, streaming platforms, and film and TV studios which earned $39.6 billion during the same year but only saw $2.1 billion in profits.
Disney’s ESPN revenue alone was able to majorly outperform that of the entire entertainment division in 2022, which included Disney+ profits.
As the numbers reflect, Disney’s ownership rights to ESPN have helped the company earn even more than its own outpouring of content. Now, the company is making moves to change how its branches are set up, a shift that CEO Bob Iger has been behind.
The breakdown will see parks and experiences as one level and entertainment and sports as another. Previously, ESPN found itself as just another piece of property floating around with the rest of Disney’s linear TV and streaming assets but now it will have its very own branch, headed by Jimmy Pitaro.
The news of Disney’s plans to further their revenue with ESPN comes hot on the heels of a new ad-tier rollout for their less-than-profitable streaming service, Disney+. Not the only streamer to be doing so, Disney+ joins ranks with others, including Netflix and Paramount+, who are raising the prices of their non-commercial plans and giving consumers the option to opt for a lower-priced ad-based tier.
The shift reveals that, with so much saturation in the streaming community, the studios behind the platforms are trying to squeeze as much money out of their subscribers as possible.
The news of Disney’s plans to further their revenue with ESPN comes hot on the heels of a new ad-tier rollout for their less-than-profitable streaming service, Disney+.
Along with their streaming woes, Disney has also had a rough year when it comes to the box office sales of their films. While the early summer Pixar and Disney animated film, Elemental came back from an almost crushing box office defeat, others including Haunted Mansion and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny majorly missed the profit mark, taking a chunk out of the shareholders’ pockets.
And, it’s not just 2023 that has given Disney bad luck with films as the release of 2022’s Lightyear was also a box office blunder, causing the studio to rethink how and what they’re putting out there for fans.
Luckily, Disney has a handful of other titles coming out before the end of the year to add to their profit revenue. Included is the animated feature, Wish, a musical fantasy flick that features vocal performances from familiar stars including Chris Pine, Ariana DeBose, Alan Tudyk, and Evan Peters.
Now, ESPN will have its very own branch, headed by Jimmy Pitaro.
There’s also Disney and Marvel’s final superhero film of the year, The Marvels, which (despite meeting mixed reactions) is still likely to draw in audiences with performances from Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, and Teyonah Parris.
Ultimately, it should come as a surprise to no one that ESPN has been a major earner for Disney, gathering an impressive amount of revenue during the fiscal year. While films and shows have a more niche demographic, the world of sports is so vast that it covers countries with die-hard fans eager to tune in for each and every game.