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  1. #1

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    ESPN Zones out except at Disney properties

    The Walt Disney Co. is shutting down most of its ESPN Zone stores, a chain of sports-themed restaurants located in seven cities, according to a person familiar with the matter. The only outlets to remain open are those tied to a Disney property, such as the Downtown Disney shopping district in Anaheim.
    It's unclear what prompted Disney to close the establishments, although the bars may well be a casualty of the recession. A poll released in March by AlixPartners found that 30% of consumers planned to eat out less frequently, and spend less per meal than they did the year before.
    In addition, some of the ESPN Zone restaurants were located in high-priced real estate areas, such as Times Square in New York.

    "Since their inception, the Zones have served sports fans very well," said an ESPN spokesman, who declined further comment. "But from a pure business perspective, the economics have been challenging."

    Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst for researcher the NPD Group, said the restaurant business is undergoing its biggest decline in three decades.
    Disney sounds the buzzer on ESPN Zones sports bars | Company Town | Los Angeles Times

  2. #2

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    Re: ESPN Zones out except at Disney properties

    Hmm. I've been to the Times Square location. It was a lot of fun, with my dad. I wonder what will go into the space.

    I always get confused about Times Square. ESPN Zone is not too close to the coming Disney Store, is it?
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  3. #3

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    Re: ESPN Zones out except at Disney properties

    Sad, sad news.



  4. #4

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    Re: ESPN Zones out except at Disney properties

    Well, the only ESPN Zone tied to a Disney property is the Anaheim one.

    Also, the downtown Los Angeles ESPN Zone is a franchise that pays a licensing fee to Disney, so that one might survive this as well.

  5. #5

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    Re: ESPN Zones out except at Disney properties

    Quote Originally Posted by MAH4546 View Post
    Well, the only ESPN Zone tied to a Disney property is the Anaheim one.

    Also, the downtown Los Angeles ESPN Zone is a franchise that pays a licensing fee to Disney, so that one might survive this as well.
    There is a ESPN Restaurant and store at the Boardwalk in Walt Disney World as well. It's not exactly the same, but I'm sure it will be safe as well.

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  6. #6

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    Re: ESPN Zones out except at Disney properties

    Not really surprising to me. The ESPN Zones have been on a slow, steady decline for the past six years or so. Their hours have been reduced. Their menu has shrunk. The amount of obscene upcharges on the menu has increased ($4 to add a salad to an entree?!). The arcade never received any new games, and only the most bare bones of maintenance. DLR's ESPN Zone still has old "The Deuce" ESPN 2 trademarks that haven't been on TV in the past 10 years.

    That said, I wish the ESPN Zone in Anaheim would close and be turned into an awesome Monorail Cafe Sports Bar/Grill. That would be a terrific and unique Disney dining experience.

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  7. #7

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    Re: ESPN Zones out except at Disney properties

    Wow, this is actually surprising to me, at least the Times Square and Chicago locations. When we were in Chicago the ESPN Zone was packed and I know they do a lot of pre/post game shows (or used to) at both of those locations.


  8. #8

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    Re: ESPN Zones out except at Disney properties

    Do the Cruise lines have an ESPN Zone on the ships?

  9. #9

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    Re: ESPN Zones out except at Disney properties

    ^ I don't think so.

    Another one that surprises me is the LA location. I believe this is the newest one and just opened maybe a year or so ago. And the new ESPN studios are right there.

    Between Lakers, Clippers and Kings games (plus concerts at both Staples and the two Nokia theaters) I can't imagine that location is doing bad. There is pretty much something going on down at LA Live every night.


  10. #10

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    Re: ESPN Zones out except at Disney properties

    Quote Originally Posted by wumbology View Post
    I always get confused about Times Square. ESPN Zone is not too close to the coming Disney Store, is it?
    No, the new Times Sq Disney Store is already being built and it is going into the former Virgin Mega Store location.


    Quote Originally Posted by Aladdin View Post
    Do the Cruise lines have an ESPN Zone on the ships?
    The Disney Wonder and Magic have an adults only sports bar onboard called Diversions. I'm not sure what the sports bar on the new Dream will be called.

  11. #11

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    Re: ESPN Zones out except at Disney properties

    Quote Originally Posted by Disney Magic View Post
    The Disney Wonder and Magic have an adults only sports bar onboard called Diversions. I'm not sure what the sports bar on the new Dream will be called.

    Looked up a little info and at one time there was something called the ESPN Skybox which was described as :

    An interactive sports club located in the forward funnel at the ship's highest point, offering a spectacular view. Sports fans are surrounded by multiple screens broadcasting all the latest sports news and events from around the world.

    Is this what is now called "Diversions"?

  12. #12

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    Re: ESPN Zones out except at Disney properties

    I had forgotten about the Skybox. The funnel that used to hold Skybox in the two current ships is now the teen clubs, Aloft on the Wonder and The Stack on the Magic. Diversions is on deck 3 forward, the after hours adult night club section. I do believe Diversions was created to be an upscale replacement to what was the ESPN Skybox, it just is not in the same location.

  13. #13

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    Re: ESPN Zones out except at Disney properties

    I'm glad to hear they're not closing the one in downtown disney, I'm always there, I know half the bartenders, I love the food the beer and the t.v.s

  14. #14

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    Re: ESPN Zones out except at Disney properties

    Quote Originally Posted by sir clinksalot View Post
    ^ I don't think so.

    Another one that surprises me is the LA location. I believe this is the newest one and just opened maybe a year or so ago. And the new ESPN studios are right there.

    Between Lakers, Clippers and Kings games (plus concerts at both Staples and the two Nokia theaters) I can't imagine that location is doing bad. There is pretty much something going on down at LA Live every night.
    The Los Angeles location is not closing. It and the Anaheim location will remain. Disney does not own the downtown LA location, it is a franchise.

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