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ESPN (originally an initialism for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network) is an American basic cable sports channel owned by ESPN Inc., owned jointly by The Walt Disney Company (80%) and Hearst Communications (20%). The company was founded in 1979 by Bill Rasmussen along with his son Scott Rasmussen and Ed Egan.
ESPN broadcasts primarily from studio facilities located in Bristol, Connecticut. The network also operates offices in Miami, New York City, Seattle, Charlotte, and Los Angeles. James Pitaro currently serves as chairman of ESPN, a position he has held since March 5, 2018, following the resignation of John Skipper on December 18, 2017. While ESPN is one of the most successful sports networks, there has been much criticism of ESPN, which includes accusations of biased coverage, conflict of interest, and controversies with individual broadcasters and analysts.
As of September 2018, ESPN is available to approximately 86 million television households (93.2% of households with pay television) in the United States.
In addition to the flagship channel and its seven related channels in the United States, ESPN broadcasts in more than 200 countries, operating regional channels in Australia, Brazil, Latin America, and the United Kingdom, and owning a 20% interest in The Sports Network (TSN) as well as its five sister networks in Canada.
In 2011, ESPN’s history and rise was chronicled in Those Guys Have All the Fun, a nonfiction book written by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales and published by Little, Brown and Company.