Disney’s name coming off its Wide World of Sports complex

Walt Disney World's Wide World of Sports complex will be renamed the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, signaling the Walt Disney Co.'s desire to capitalize on both brands at its giant Central Florida resort.

Ken Potrock, Disney World senior vice president for the sports complex, announced the name change this morning as he outlined the complex's current and expanding role as a generator of tourism and convention business in Central Florida.

The facilities currently draw 250,000 athletes and 1.2 million spectators a year. Surveys show the vast majority would not have come to Central Florida or Walt Disney World had it not been for the athletic competitions.

With plans for a new bowling center, the new Jostens Center that just opened, and the ESPN rebranding, Potrock said he expects far more visitors.

He also said the company would take more advantage of the worldwide popularity of ESPN among sports enthusiasts.

"If you're in the sports business and you happen to own the most powerful sports brand, why wouldn't you leverage that?" he said. "The answer is, of course we will leverage that."


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