The Cycle

A day at the center of the sports universe

You only have to spend a few minutes on “The Campus” of ESPN in Bristol, CT to understand how big the company has actually become, and how much it continues to grow. The first thing you see from the street when driving by is the army of satellite dishes pointing skyward. They vary in size from small to huge and they litter the entire campus. And they don’t call it the campus for nothing. Walking from a parking garage to the building that houses SportsCenter immediately takes you back to your undergrad days when you would have to trek across campus from your dorm to your political science class. It’s no wonder there’s a shuttle bus.

The campus has the feel of an airport, and that’s not just because of its sprawling 100 acres–when the network launched more than 25 years ago it barely had two–it feels like an airport because of the construction that’s taking place around every corner. From the expansion of the cafeteria and the construction of its newest office building, to the building of the satellite farm that will house all of the networks satellites–including one so big it will do the work of thirty mid-size dishes–the construction seems never ending.

Aside from the size of the campus and the number of satellite dishes, it’s the number of people working at ESPN that boggles the mind. Every time you turn a corner in any of the numerous buildings no matter how remote of a corner you may think you’re in, you’ll find three to four guys sitting in front of monitors watching and editing highlight packages. And in some rooms there are upwards of 50 people sitting in front of monitors.

But to get a real feel for just how much the company as well as technology has evolved one only need to step on to the old and new SportsCenter sets and then walk through the old and brand new newsrooms. Seeing each side by side sums up the company’s growth better than anything.

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