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You've Seen the Network. Now Buy the Television- New York Times- 6/6/05


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  • You've Seen the Network. Now Buy the Television- New York Times- 6/6/05

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    ESPN, like Crest toothpaste, has capitalized on its own popularity with a line of brand-extended merchandise. Now the company that is synonymous with sports may place its name on television sets as well as television events.

    At the Consumer Electronics Show last January, ESPN met with major consumer electronics manufacturers, looking for a source of ESPN-branded TV's.

    The company "has had preliminary conversations to explore the idea, but there's nothing concrete," said Sandra Carreon-John, a spokeswoman for ESPN.

    It would not be the first time a company has applied its brand to a television. ESPN's parent, the Walt Disney Company, offers several Disney TV's through Wal-Mart.

    The idea is worth considering because "ESPN has a similar cachet," said Richard Doherty, an analyst with the Envisioneering Group and a former consultant on the project.

    If the venture is undertaken, it will come under the umbrella of ESPN's consumer products group. The division currently offers a range of ESPN-branded games, poker tables and tabletops, and even a bicycle.

    Speaking before the Royal Television Society last year, Disney's president, Robert A. Iger, noted the company's belief in the importance of brand extension.

    "Brand value will become more important than ever, as consumers are now fragmented to such a great degree that brands must build a new relationship with them," he said. "Content will remain king, while technology will become its powerful prime minister."
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