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Bodenheimer: ESPN on the rise

One sign that the ad market is improving, ESPN president George Bodenheimer
said Tuesday, is that his network's scatter-market advertising is up 5 percent
to 8 percent over last spring's upfront pricing.

Advertising rates for 2003, he added, are up double-digits over fiscal-year

Accounting for ESPN's ad-sales successes, Bodenheimer said, "We can sell everything
from a Saturday-morning outdoor-sports unit to the Super Bowl and everything in between."

Since merging their sales outfits three years ago, ESPN and its Walt Disney
Co. corporate cousin, ABC Sports, sell their ad time together.

Bodenheimer appeared Tuesday at the UBS Warburg LLC media conference in New

Bodenheimer also touted ESPN's wide range of media
brands, including its popular -- and profitable -- magazine and Web site (
), along with broadband and
digital services.

ESPN's high-definition channel, ESPN HD, is slated
for a spring-2003 launch.

The channel will feature most of ESPN's major sports properties, which
include marquee pro sports football, basketball, hockey and baseball, along with
college football and basketball.

ESPN, he said, remains bullish on its original
programming ventures.

second original movie, The Junction Boys,
debuts Saturday night.

Responding to some critics who have asked "if ESPN is straying from its
roots" with entertainment, Bodenheimer responded that original shows account for
only 5 percent of ESPN's schedule. "It's a good strategy. We can create and own
more of our own programming," he added.