Many ESPN Zone restaurants to close


Does anyone know if this will effect the ESPN restaurant @ the Boardwalk???
It is an ESPN “Club” per the description on the Disney Dining reservation web site. So it isn’t an ESPN “Zone.”

Will it stay open or not???


It is slated to stay open.


The article is confusing saying 5 will close but not listing Orlando:

Disney to close 5 ESPN Zone restaurants

LOS ANGELES — The Walt Disney Co. said Wednesday that it is closing five ESPN Zone restaurants in Baltimore, Chicago, New York, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C., saying the economics of the business were “very challenging.”

The company said that after Tuesday, the only ESPN Zone restaurants to remain open will be in Los Angeles and Anaheim, Calif.

One of those outlets is at the L.A. Live complex, which also houses the studio where ESPN shoots a late edition of its news and highlight show “SportsCenter.” That restaurant will be run by Staples Center owner AEG. The other is in the Downtown Disney attraction near Disneyland, on land owned by ESPN parent Disney.

The sports bar and restaurant chain, which has arcade games, big-screen TVs and serves up burgers and beer, was launched in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in July 1998 to expose fans to the brand.

But a review of the business over the last 18 months showed it was suffering from the impact of the recession as fewer people dined out. The first signs of trouble emerged when Disney closed ESPN Zones in Atlanta and Denver last year.

“We didn’t see the business turning (around) quickly,” said ESPN senior vice president Rick Alessandri in an interview. “It was a call, unfortunately, we had to make.”

The closures occurred amid a wide-ranging review of Disney businesses, including an overhaul at its movie studio and staff reductions at its theme parks.

ESPN is focusing its investments elsewhere. This weekend, it is kicking off its coverage of the World Cup, for which it paid $100 million for television rights.

“Our growth is not stopping by any stretch,” Alessandri said.

The Associated Press: Disney to close 5 ESPN Zone restaurants

I’ll see if I can find any definitive word on the Boardwalk.


Another article:

Disney to close Chicago’s ESPN Zone sports bar - Chicago Breaking Business

Disney to close Chicago’s ESPN Zone sports bar
Published on June 8, 2010 6:42 PM

By Dawn C. Chmielewski | The Walt Disney Co. is shutting down most of its ESPN Zone stores, a chain of sports-themed restaurants located in seven cities, including Chicago, 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.

Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst for researcher the NPD Group, said the restaurant business is undergoing its biggest decline in three decades.

“This year was horrible,” Balzer said. “A restaurant meal is a very discretionary behavior. You could always eat at home and save money doing it. And going out for dinner is the most expensive food you could buy.”

Balzer said casual dining restaurants like the ESPN Zone have been among the hardest hit, as consumers gravitate to less expensive chains such as Chipotle or Panera Bread, which offer sit-down dining at fast-food prices. ESPN may also have suffered from the problem that afflicted Planet Hollywood – the novelty simply wore off, he said.

“We love the newness of something,” Balzer said. “ESPN had something new. But after a while, there was nothing new. We were here with Planet Hollywood. How many times can you see Marilyn Monroe’s dress?”

In addition to Anaheim, Disney operates ESPN Zones in Baltimore, Chicago, Las Vegas, New York City and Washington. The company licenses the ESPN Zone to a restaurant at L.A. Live. Disney closed the Atlanta and Denver locations last year.

I don’t know why, but these reports want to focus on Anaheim’s DTD yet ignore completely The Boardwalk. I guess we can assume that the Boardwalk will remain open because of course, Disney owns the building, owns the property, and drives the foot traffic into that restaurant for a variety of reasons that don’t work in Times Square. The same can be said for DTD Anaheim to a lesser extent. It’s part of the Disneyland resort and again, foot traffic from the parks to the hotels and parking structures help drive patronage.


From everything I’ve read any “ESPN” restaurant/club/grill attached to Disney property is NOT closing at this time. I am assuming the only reason that the one on the Boardwalk wasn’t mentioned is because it’s actually an “ESPN Club” and the location at the Wide World of Sports is called, “ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill.” The one in Anaheim (Downtown Disney) is actually an “ESPN Zone,” in which they are closing all the other locations. So, as far as I know, the 3 “ESPN” locations on Disney property are staying (for now).


I was surprised to read this too. I’ve been seeing lots of information about a 3D entertainment screen being added . . . and they just RENAMED Wide World of Sports ESPN? I think it will be staying at Disney.


There is just no margin for some corporate stores anymore.

Here in Buffalo, Some Buffalo Wild Wings had to close. Wings not popular in Buffalo? The place always seemed busy. I asked the manager and he said a big chunk of sales went right off to corporate.

I’m guessing the branding did not offset the diminishing margin in this economy. Locally owned places are doing better than some of the chains.


So relieved to hear “our” ESPN isn’t closing (yet). When my husband told us it was, our eyes did that black and white spinning circle thing from shock. It was like hearing of a death. Our family tradition is to:
2)check in at hotel
3)eat at Espn on Boardwalk and have a drink to get rid of travel stress.

I knew MouseBuzz would have the accurate details.