By Tim Lemke
BRISTOL, Conn. -- In the world of sports, initials signify dominance: Think Hall of Famers such as MJ and LT and all-stars such as TO and AI.
The most recognizable and powerful initials in the sports world, however, don't belong to Michael Jordan, Lawrence Taylor, Terrell Owens or Allen Iverson.
They instead represent a company in Bristol, Conn., that once was responsible just for airing 24/7 coverage of games, highlights and news but now is perhaps the most powerful force in sports.
Now in its 27th year, ESPN, or Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, has become a multibillion-dollar behemoth, a standard offering for nearly every cable and satellite company in America. Moreover, the network no longer is just a broadcaster of events and news but is an essential partner to nearly every sports league.