by Charles A. Monagan
Aug 5, 2011
12:52 PMOn Connecticut
State Aid for ESPN? Cut It Out!
Way back in the spring of 2010 it was widely known among all those in the ranks of ESPN in Bristol that a group of newcomers would soon transplanted from New York to Connecticut. The move, which included the staff of ESPN Magazine among many others, was being made at the behest of ESPN's owner, Walt Disney Corp., as part of a guiding philosophy to consolidate services and cut down on expensive NYC leases and other inefficiencies caused by far-flung operations. By this past spring, a year after the initial word went out, everyone had made the move and was settling down in his or her new Connecticut home. With 14 buildings and 4,000 employees, ESPN had more than ever become a Connecticut company.
Which is why it seems so disingenuous that Gov. Malloy earlier this week took credit for the the next wave of ESPN jobs into the state over the coming few years - and doubly wrong that he is rewarding the company with millions of dollars worth of credits and tax breaks for doing so. It's a bit like standing at the edge of the sea and taking credit for the tide coming in.
ESPN has been a great economic-development story for Connecticut - probably one of the 10 best in the state's history - and its commitment to Bristol has been a thing of wonder. If the company was truly thinking about moving its new digital facility somewhere else in the world, then the state's efforts were well worth it. But there is nothing convincing to suggest the company was looking elsewhere.
Here's hoping that the next two members of the governor's First Five economic initiative have a little more meat on the bone.State Aid for ESPN? Cut It Out!